The Revd Canon David Tyler

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The Revd Canon David Tyler grew up in a non-Christian household and first encountered God in his teens. David became a chartered accountant before ordination and is about to become the Associate Archdeacon of Dorchester. Here is his story.

David remembers going to church twice a year as a child – for St George’s Day and Remembrance Day as a Scout.

“Church didn’t mean much to me at all,” says David, who first experienced something of God at a Luis Palau event at Crystal Palace. Palau is an evangelist who runs events in a similar style to Billy Graham.

“I went along very naively but certainly felt something of the presence of God that I’d never experienced before,” says David, who had been taken along by Christian friends.

“As a result, the local vicar knocked on my door and said hello. I warmed to him. We started to develop a friendship, and I started to go to the youth group at his church. I got confirmed aged 15 in St Alban’s Abbey. My family came to faith after that.”

David has been the Rector of Hanborough and Freeland, a rural benefice in West Oxfordshire, for over 12 years and has twice been the Area Dean of Woodstock.

“There are two things in my Christian journey that are important to how I do my job as Rector and how I will do my job as Associate Archdeacon. Growing up in a non-Christian household means I understand what it’s like to be in an environment that isn’t Christian and to come to faith. That’s been very helpful in encouraging others to explore faith. In our benefice, we have run an Alpha course every year since I have been there. I hope I understand the issues and pressures people face.

“The other thing that informs what I’ve been doing recently as Area Dean and Assistant Archdeacon is my broad church experience,” says David. He remembers first attending a regular Anglican church before joining an informal chaplaincy when he was at university in Hull. He moved to a large evangelical church in London later on.

“In Hanborough and Freeland we have a low evangelical plant in a school and a church with its roots in the Oxford movement where some Sundays we have bells and incense,” he says.
David first sensed a call to ordination at university, but he felt he was too young and green to pursue it. He was working alone in Hamburg when that calling became more definite. “In Hamburg, there’s a big square of water called the Alster. I was praying at the water’s edge about my future. I haven’t experienced God in this way since, but I felt a powerful sense of peace and was left feeling that I should put myself forward for ordination,” he says.

It was two-years later when David went to theological college. The time lag allowed him to take a promotion at KPMG, the financial services company where he worked.

“I ended up running a department of 30 professional staff which was an incredible experience. It’s something that has stayed with me,” says David, who has acted as the Assistant Archdeacon of Dorchester for the last year-and-a-half.

He is a member of the Diocesan Audit Committee and has served as a governor at two Church schools. He sits on the Board of Members for the Eynsham Partnership Academy. He is married to Catherine, a clinical psychologist and they have two children, Josh who is reading chemistry at Bristol and Charlotte who is sitting GCSEs at the Kings School, Witney.

In his spare time, David enjoys hill walking and walking his cocker spaniel, Poppy. “We’ve been fortunate enough to travel around the Mediterranean and on the Norwegian coast. They were special, fantastic experiences,” he added.

Words: Jo Duckles

The Revd Canon David Tyler

The Revd Canon David Tyler. Photo: Jo Duckles