By Dave Swanton
Fr Alex is the vicar of St Matthew’s church in Burnley and was ordained in 2015 but it hasn’t always been like that. For many years Alex worked in the retail giant ‘Argos’ where he worked as a Store Manager for nearly 20 years. During that time Alex hosted a weekly Hospital radio show, which allowed him the autonomy to play all his favourite vinyl records.
Prior to ordination, Alex had no experience of church, in fact not long before thinking about ordained ministry, Alex was deadly serious about making people laugh and was intent on becoming a professional comedian. He was learning his trade performing in comedy clubs in Manchester and doing various gigs across Lancashire. Alex got an agent who would provide regular shows for him to perform but in return for a modest fee.
At the same time Alex had discovered church by chance as his daughter wanted to visit the local Sunday school. Alex didn’t have a clue what was going on and stood up and sat down in the wrong places. After becoming friends with the Vicar, Alex soon felt a call to ordination which came as shock to his wife Sarah and their 3 children. A Alex left school with no formal qualifications this led to a difficult and troubled journey to being ordained at Blackburn cathedral in 2015.
Post ordination Alex struck up a friendship with a fellow priest, Chris Krawiec and the become a comedy double act doing online sketches and hosting comedy evenings. They also auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent’ and appeared at the Salford Lowry in front of the judging panel and meeting Ant & Dec.
During the Covid 19 lockdown Alex was part of a BBC news feature focusing on Poverty in areas of Urban deprivation, the news item has recently won the Sandford St Martin Trustee’s award, For broadcast programmes or reports that explored the impact of coronavirus, the pandemic or lockdown through a religious lens.
During the Covid 19 lockdowns Alex and his family were struck by the virus and Alex began interviewing people from church, via his home and Zoom to keep people isolated at home entertained. Alex enjoyed this process and after a chance interaction on online, TV celebrity Eamonn Holmes agreed to be interview by Alex, which had huge viewing figures and from there Alex created ‘The God Cast’ a regular series of interview with some of the biggest celebrity, political, a sports people in the UK. ‘The God Cast’ continues to go from strength to strength and many more famous people are in the pipeline to be interviewed including comedian Jack Dee and writer Gyles Brandreth. The interviews can be watched as a video or a podcast and are on all major internet platforms. ‘The God Cast’ Just Googel it!
The God Cast just seems to go from strength to strength with many famous faces happy to engage and have a conversation about their career and if religion played an important part of the journey.
The God Cast Guest List includes
Ross King MBE
Pippa Crerrar (Political Editor, Daily Mirror)
Bill Neely (NBC News)
Callum Skinner (Olympic Gold medal winner Rio 2016)
Steve N Allen
Stephen Cottrell (Archbishop of York)
Philip North (Bishop of Burnley)
Rev Michael Coren
Rev Rachel Man
Rev Nadim Nassar
and many more!