St Peter's Church, Arkley, has a new vicar, the Reverend Cindy Kent -- and few women priests have a back catalogue of experience that stretches to the 1960s and fame as lead singer in the pop-folk group The Settlers.


Cindy, who left behind concert and cabaret appearances, to develop a life-time’s career as a broadcaster – and get ordained as a priest – is to be installed as the new team vicar for Arkley parish on Wednesday 17 January.

She is no stranger to Anglican congregations in North London having spent nine years as curate and then priest-in-charge at St John the Apostle Church in Whetstone and more recently having taken services at churches in both the Edmonton and St Albans Dioceses.

Cindy – seen above with, Iris Auburn (left) and Maureen Stevens, her two deputy church wardens at St Peter’s – says the challenge in Arkley as in other churches will be to build up the congregation.

“St Peter’s has a popular church magazine so perhaps I can start by posing half a dozen questions and ask readers what social events local people would like to see being held at the church.

“Once I know what kind of activities might appeal, I can get organising and hopefully generate a strong community response and increase attendances at our services.

“When I was priest in charge at St John the Apostle in Whetstone, we doubled the congregation, so it is all about finding ways to encourage people to get involved.”

After eleven years as lead singer for The Settlers, often appearing with Cliff Richard, she started to build her career as a broadcaster, first with the BBC in the mid-1970s, selecting and reviewing albums for Sunday on BBC Radio 4, and presenting Gospel Road on BBC Radio 2.

Cindy has rarely been off air in the last four decades and has worked on stations around the country, presenting and producing programmes for BBC Radio Medway, LBC, and Radio Hallam.

She became religious affairs producer for Capital Radio in 1978 and widened her experience presenting a series about St Francis of Assisi for HTV Wales, another 13-week series of Lent, combined with appearances on BBC TV and ITV.

In 1995 she became a presenter on Premier, the UK’s first Christian Radio Station, where she held a range of posts over the following 15 years.

Her expertise and dedication were recognised in 2016 when she was awarded an MBE for services to religious broadcasting.

While continuing to broadcast – and she currently has a two hour show on Serenade Radio (Saturday 3 to 5pm, repeated on Sunday) – Cindy was ordained as a priest in 2007 becoming curate at St John the Apostle, Whetstone, and then priest-in-charge in 2010.

Semi-retirement beckoned in 2016 when she moved to the Isle of Sheppey where she continued to conduct occasional services at the five Anglican churches in the West Sheppey Benefice and presented a weekly religious spot on the community radio station Sheppey FM.

Two years ago, she moved back to Barnet to be nearer her son James -- who has been choirmaster at All Saints, Friern Barnet -- when he and his wife had a daughter.

Her appointment as priest in charge with house for duty at St Peter’s follows the retirement in March of the previous team vicar, the Reverend Nick Wheeler.