Matthew Hutton appointed a new Deputy Lieutenant
Lady Dannatt, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk, has appointed Matthew Hutton, Pastor at St Barnabas in Norwich, as one of eleven new Deputy Lieutenants.
Each county has a Lord-Lieutenant who is Her Majesty’s representative and he/she has a number of DLs (in the case of Norfolk, now 49) to support the Lord-Lieutenant in general within the county.
“It was a huge surprise,” said Matthew, who was appointed on February 3, “and an enormous honour, as I look forward to finding out what it will involve.”
Matthew was born in Norwich and grew up on the family farm at Langley, which he now manages with his wife Annie. He was brought up to go to church, but it was not until his first term at Oxford University that he heard a clear explanation of the Gospel at a series of mission addresses and made a profession of faith. Looking back now after nearly 50 years, however, he says “I hadn’t understood about repentance and I gradually fell away.”
Matthew now says that he came to faith in January 1979, at the age of 25, three months before he qualified as a solicitor: “I was brought back by the Holy Spirit, Who convicted me that I was on the wrong side of God; and that as well as asking God to forgive me I had to go three people to ask for their forgiveness, which was tough but unavoidable.”
He then found that he was walking on air and joined St Helen’s Church Bishopsgate, in the City of London, where Dick Lucas was vicar and an extraordinary preacher and teacher of the Bible, which started for Matthew a life-long passion for the Scriptures.
Over the following 33 years or so Matthew pursued a varied career, first as a solicitor specialising in taxation, and then set up his own practice as a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation giving advice to accountants and solicitors on behalf of their own clients, lecturing and writing books.
He had become a Lay Reader in the Church of England in 1992 and loved engaging with preaching and teaching the Bible. It was a so-called immersion trip with Tearfund to Cambodia in April 2008, including a three-night stay with an HIV+ family in the slums of Phnom Penh, which dramatically challenged his social conscience. “I discovered that God had given me a heart as well as a head,” he said, “a concern for the people on the margins.” As Annie put it, “Matthew has discovered poverty.”
He got involved with the setting up of Restored, as one of the founder trustees of this Christian charity spearheaded by Peter Grant (with whom he had gone to Cambodia) and Mandy Marshall, which is committed to the ending of violence against women (VAW) and the transformation of relationships. Matthew remains deeply challenged by the extent of VAW in our own country, let alone around the world, and longs to see it eradicated.
“In 2010 my wife sent me to theological college,” he continues. “She didn’t want me saying on my deathbed that I wished I had studied theology as an academic discipline.” Matthew chose to study at St Mellitus College in London, travelling up to London on Mondays during term-time, following a five year part-time BA degree course. However, during years two and three a calling to ordained ministry gradually developed and year four saw him switch tracks to becoming an ordinand. Ordained in July 2014, Matthew served a four-year curacy with Rev Canon Madeline Light at St Stephen’s Church in Norwich.
A placement at HMP Norwich chaplaincy in January 2018 led him to becoming a mentor for ex-offenders with Community Chaplaincy Norfolk (CCN), a Christian charity supporting ex-offenders as they seek to rebuild their lives after coming out of prison and since July 2019 he has been chair of trustees.
“Over the last five years I have been increasingly touched by the infinite enormity of the love of God,” he says. “That sense gives you a love for other people, and especially for those on the margins, like those in and coming out of prison.”
Addressing the issue of homelessness is another of Matthew’s concerns. He belongs to the St Martins Housing Advisory Group and is a member of the Greater Norwich and Breckland Homelessness Prevention Forum.
In 2018/19 he served as Chaplain to High Sheriff Charles Watt (who in setting up the New Life project shares Matthew’s passion for helping ex-offenders). As chaplain Matthew was involved in developing awareness in the County of the Diocese of Norwich’s Bright Map web-based initiative pioneered by Gordon Darley and encouraging the posting of a variety of church and other groups on Bright Map to promote community.
First Annie and then Matthew felt themselves called to St Barnabas Church in the Heigham area of Norwich in the autumn of 2018. As Site and Service Pastor of St Barnabas (within the Mitre Benefice), Matthew now finds himself serving in one of the more deprived areas of the city, “where there is a huge variety of social issues,” he says. “So I say to God, with both this and the CCN work, ‘I feel completely out of my depth, so You have to equip me to do this.’ ”