Outspoken priest who wrote prayer to save football team from relegation is new All Saints rector

A Birmingham City-supporting vicar who asked for divine intervention to save his team has been appointed the new rector at All Saints in Northampton town centre.

Saturday, 19th March 2016, 6:26 am
Updated Monday, 21st March 2016, 12:24 pm

The church has been looking for a replacement since last July after Father David McConkey was placed on sabbatical then extended leave after accusing leading members of his congregation of ‘rancour’ and ‘vilification’.

Now father Oliver Coss, has successfully applied for the job and he also has a reputation for being candid.

While at his inner city Birmingham church in Small Heath (also called All Saints) he hit the headlines several times, notably in May 2014, when adopted team Birmingham City faced the real threat of relegation and he composed a prayer to help them. The club survived the drop on the final day of the season.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Announcing his departure for Northampton, he said: “I could remain here for many more years, and continue to deepen the wonderful relationships, activities, and happenings I’ve been part of, for both my family and I could continue to be comfortable here.

“Nevertheless, for reasons covering the personal, professional, and family - and perhaps because there is such a thing as too comfortable - we are convinced that God is leading us to a new place, and will call new leadership to Small Heath.”

Earlier this month he became involved in a public argument on Twitter with ex-footballer Stan Collymore after bringing up the TalkSport pundit’s past misdemeanours.

Father Oliver later deleted his tweet and said he could have chosen his words better.

By that time he had already been appointed to All Saints Northampton and it was not the reason for his departure from the Birmingham church.

Elsewhere Father Oliver ish a prolific blogger and has written on hot topics affected his congregation including council leadership, child poverty , domestic violence and Benefits Street.

In his latest blog, Father Oliver said: “With a fine history of choral music, a mission to the wider town and civic life, and a parish with some areas of desperate urban need, the prospect is of many excitements, many challenges, and - I hope - many joys as I come to exercise the priesthood of Jesus Christ in a new situation.”

He also tweeted earlier this week: “Going to a place as poor as Small Heath, but in a Conservative borough. Gonna have my work cut out.”