A NEW priest is to take over two churches in Dursley, a year after the previous incumbent retired.

On Wednesday, July 9 the Bishop of Gloucester will license the Rev Canon Michael Cozens as priest in charge, or rector designate, for the parish of Dursley, and will then be installed by the Archdeacon of Gloucester.

Mr Cozens will be in charge of St James the Great’s Church in Dursley's town centre and St Mark’s Church in Woodmancote.

The married father of two has spent the last 17 years in Cheltenham and since September 2008 has been team rector for the North Cheltenham Team Ministry.

In 2010 he was made an Honorary Canon of Gloucester Cathedral.

Churchwarden Austin Meares said the new priest was looking forward to the new challenges and prays that he will be able to serve and lead us with energy and enthusiasm.

“We too, continue to pray for Michael and his family as they embark on this new stage in their lives,” he said.

“It will be a memorable event as we welcome Michael as our new pastor and meet his wife Gill and their family, Anna and Simon.

“In the meantime, please hold Michael and his family in your prayers as he prepares for his new ministry with us.”

Mr Cozens moved in to the Dursley rectory last week with his wife, who is a secondary school teacher in Cheltenham.

Their daughter Anna, who has just completed a degree in primary education in York, securing her first teaching post in Selby.

Their son Simon has finished his A levels has been given a place at university Sheffield Hallam to do a degree in sport and exercise science.

Everyone is welcome to attend the service at St James’ Church on Wednesday, July 9 at 7.30pm to meet the new rector and his family.

Mr Cozens takes over from the Rev Janet Bromley who retired in July last year after 13 years tending Dursley’s flock.

Such was her impact that she was awarded the Leslie D Gale award for her services to the community in April that year.