Interregnum and New Vicar

Interregum: the ‘interval between the periods of office of two incumbents in a parish’.

In the church the incumbent is often know as ‘the vicar’ so the interregnum is a period when a parish church is without its full time vicar.

Our previous vicar Wilma Roest left us in July 2016 to take up a new appointment in Richmond upon Thames. Our new vicar, the Rev’d Dr Robert Tobin will be licensed by the Bishop of Kingston at St Mary’s 7.30pm Monday 4 September 2017. Until the Rev’s Tobin arrives the work of the parish church is managed by the Church Wardens and the Parochial Church Council (PCC).

At St Marys we are blessed with a ministry team who give their time and efforts voluntarily. We are committed to keeping worship and pastoral support available as much as possible. However please bear with us if we are unable to respond as promptly as you might have come to expect.



The appointment of a new vicar is a protracted process controlled by legislation and involves the PCC, our joint patrons Keble College Oxford and the Bishop of Southwark, and the Diocese of Southwark.

As part of the process the PCC prepared a Parish Profile (which can be seen here) the aims of which were to set out the conditions, needs and traditions of the parish. This was a key document for any potential applicant as part of their process of discernment as to whether St Mary’s Balham is the right place for them to serve God.

In January 2017 we advertised the in the national Church Times. A copy of our advert can be seen here.

If you are considering applying for the post and would like to know more about St Mary’s you might like to view the video below giving testimonials from some of our parishioners on what they like about St Mary’s.

Applications were received, followed by a shortlisting process after which the selected applicants were invited to formally visit the parish and find out more about Balham, St Mary’s and Trinity St Marys School. Formal interviews were then held 23 February 2017 at which Rev’d Dr Robert Tobin was selected as our preferred candidate before being formally appointed by the Bishop a few days later.



Robert Tobin grew up in Boston and Texas in the USA and had a vicarage upbringing in the American Episcopal Church.  After attending Harvard University as an undergraduate, he taught English at a multi-racial school in South Africa.  He continued his studies in Dublin and Oxford before training for ordination at Westcott House in Cambridge. He went on to serve his curacy in the Beaconsfield Team Ministry in Buckinghamshire and since 2010 has been chaplain and tutor at Oriel College Oxford.

Besides being an avid reader, Robert enjoys travelling and attending art exhibitions and the cinema. He is married to Olivia Horsfall Turner, who grew up in Greenwich and works as a senior curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Both Robert and Olivia are very much looking forward to joining the St Mary’s family and getting to know the wider community of Balham.

Robert and Olivia will move to Balham over the summer and will be licensed by the Bishop of Kingston at 7:30pm Monday 4th September 2017.