A NEW minister, and former missionary working in Russia, joined a church in Redvales at the start of this month.

In his new role as minister at Radcliffe Road Baptist Church Russell Phillips, who has travelled all over Europe, from Edinburgh to Italy hopes to take this experience with him, as he aims to help people in the area who may not speak English as a first language.

Mr Philips is taking over from Clive Bullock who served as minister from 2015 to 2021, after moving to the UK from the city of Novosibirsk, in Western Siberia, with wife, Oxana, and daughters, Sophia, Kiera, and Tanya.

“It may sound rather strange, but I will miss the white winters in Russia,” he said, “because there would be so much snow and you wouldn’t even be able to see the lawn.”

“Not only that, but I will miss the people, because we have so many close friends in Russia and I was very much at home there. It was a big wrench to move away from Russia but Bury is a very exciting new opportunity and this is a new chapter in my life that I cannot wait to take advantage of.

“I’ve moved around a lot and the principle is always the same - to meet and make as many friends as possible and I can’t wait to do that here.”

He added: “But I am really pleased to be here in Bury, which is a wonderful place, and Bury is such a wonderful community. There are so many green spaces, which is important for my daughters."

“My daughters also love the fact that we are never too far away from the countryside.

“The thing I look forward to the most, however, is reaching out to people from a variety of different religions and backgrounds in the area.”

After finished school in Brussels in 1992, Mr Philips took a year out in Germany before studying Modern and Medieval Languages for four years at Cambridge.