A VICAR has stunned his Huddersfield parishioners by announcing his resignation.
The Rev Simon Foulkes - Team Rector of Almondbury for the past three years - plans to give up the ministry and seek a job outside the church.
But he insists he will remain as a priest and may return to the ministry in the future.
Mr Foulkes, who has worked in Almondbury for six years, was ordained in 1989.
He said: "Last summer I received a clear and strong sense of God's call to pursue vocation through secular employment.
"Now I'm looking for the next step; it is actually quite common for priests to earn their living like this".
Mr Foulkes has handed in his resignation to the Wakefield Diocese, but has to give three months notice and will remain in Almondbury until Easter - he then plans to move to Kent.
He added: "I will be sorry to leave many good people and colleagues with whom I have worked over the past six years.
"The church has been through some challenging times, but I believe I leave the parish with excellent staff, the beginnings of growth and well able to embrace the future with confidence in Christ".
Mr Foulkes has previously worked at churches in Cornwall and Winchester.
Prior to joining the church, he worked as an audit officer with British Rail.