Why Rye?


This series of interviews is designed for you to get to know a little more personally, the people who’ve chosen Rye as their home or place of work.

This Christmas week the subject of the interview is Rev Paul White, team rector of Rye, who together with his wife Vivienne and children Annabelle and Henry, moved to Rye just over a year ago.

Twitter or Instagram?

Twitter every time. I’ve got about 6,000 followers on Twitter. I can be a bit controversial on Twitter. I’m worried about the direction Elon Musk is taking it. A lot of radical, right-wing accounts, keep popping up on my timeline because the algorithm appears to have been changed to put them there. It is becoming a place of increased divisiveness. I’m in the slow process of moving to Mastodon, but there’s not as much going on there and I think it’ll take a while to build up a following there. You’ve got to be a bit more techy to sign up to it and it’s not as user friendly, but it’s a much smaller operation and they are still in their early days. I’m a big Tweeter but it can sometimes get me into trouble.

Meat or fish?

Probably fish actually. I do buy fish from the local fishmongers down by the wharf. I like anchovies. A lot of anchovies can be over salted, but the ones you buy fresh in oil are really lovely. I often stick those in a pan and put them on a bit of toast and have them for lunch.

Music or talk radio?

I’m going to have to say both because I have Radio 4 on in the background a lot. But I also have my house wired for sound, so I have music in the house wherever I go as well. But not radio. I have a big CD collection; so talk radio, but ‘music’ music. To call my taste eclectic would be an understatement; opera, classical, jazz, folk, some modern stuff, probably from the 90s, really wide taste. My very first album I bought was Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast when I was about 15.

Football or rugby?

I don’t watch either but if I did it would probably be rugby.

Sand or shingle?

I probably prefer crunching along the shingle ultimately.

Wine or spirits?

Wine first, followed by a nice whisky.

Book or film?

Book. I love film but you get the full emotion with a book I think. Probably one of my favourite modern books of all time is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. It’s set in a fantasy 17th century England where magic is real and the Napoleonic wars are fought using magic. There is more to life than we realise sometimes.

Dog or cat?

I have both, I genuinely have both. I have a dog called Luna and a cat called Archie. We as a family and me with my parents, we’ve had dogs and cats my whole life, so both, definitely.

Old or new?

Old mostly. I like old houses, like old furniture, I like old books and things, I like the Old Testament. Many priests are scared of preaching the Old Testament because it’s terribly complicated and confusing compared to the Gospels, but I love the Old Testament history and preaching on that.

Why Rye?

Because God called me here is probably the answer. Viv and I have lived for many years within striking distance of Rye. We’d hop in the car and say lets go to Rye for an afternoon out. We’d sit on the bench in the churchyard having fish and chips from Marino’s. At the end of the afternoon we’d think this is the nicest place in the world, we don’t want to leave here and go to our current home. We always planned to come here one day and then when the job came up, it actually felt that God wanted us here for this time really.

I also love sailing. I’m the chaplain of the Rye Sea Cadets, work with the charity Rye Harbour Sailability and will shortly become the chaplain of RNLI Rye Harbour; I will stand with them any day of the week. Once you live here you see beyond the tourist facade and especially as a priest you see into the real needs of people; there is real hidden poverty here, which you actually don’t see wondering around Church Square as a tourist. But as a priest that’s of course part of your being here, to look after those most in need and there certainly is a lot of need.

Image Credits: Natasha Robinson .

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