DALE vicarage has opened its doors to two new ministers – husband and wife team Father Andrew and Rev Rhiannon Johnson.

After 15 years in the parish of Walton West, Fr Johnson is now responsible for churches in Dale, Marloes, St Brides and St Ishmaels, while Rev Johnson will cover Walwyn’s Castle and Robeston West.

Born in Kent, Fr Johnson trained in textiles and lectured on embroidery before deciding to join the church.

He met his wife in Cardiff, where she was undertaking her curacy, and the couple have been married for 18 years.

Rev Johnson, 46, said the couple were looking forward to meeting all their new parishioner, and getting involved in local life.

“I think this area is very special,” she said.

“We have always been impressed by the way Pembrokeshire people support each other in times of crisis, more than anywhere else I’ve lived.

“Even people who have moved here are prepared to put a stake into the community.

“We’re looking forward to meeting people, seeing what they’re doing, and seeing how we can help.

“And on a purely selfish level, waking up to the view in Dale is going to be amazing.”

Fr Johnson said churches and church halls were often one of the few public meeting places left in rural communities, and were still very much important.

“The church is a safe place to turn if anyone who is having a rough time, when things seem like they’re falling apart,” said the 58-year-old.

“We want to be here for people when they need us,” added Rev Johnson.

“We’re the vicars for everyone in our parish, whether they come to church or not.

“We are the servants of the people, there for them in the key moments of their lives, from births to deaths to marriages, and at moments of crisis.”