Ipswich musician-turned-priest Rev Emma Haggar takes up position at All Hallow’s Church in Landseer Road
After a 17 year career with the piano, a musician from Ipswich decided on a career change – and has returned home to deliver to crowds of a different kind.
Rev Emma Haggar took up the position of priest at All Hallows Church in Landseer Road with a licensing ceremony on Monday.
The 37-year-old, who previously served as assistant curate at Old Felixstowe Parish, said faith has always been important to her.
She said: “I’m very proud to become part of the All Hallows community to share the love of God with the parish I was born in.
“I look forward to getting to know the church, understanding its needs and supporting the community.”
Rev Emma described herself as an ‘accidental musician’.
As a child, she originally had ambitions to become a customs officer after seeing a display about animal importing at Colchester Zoo.
However, at age 10, Emma fell seriously ill with myalgic encephalomyelitis, which meant she was only able to attend school part-time, and ended up with two GCSEs.
However, she found solace in the piano and developed a deep love for music.
Eventually, she joined a community choir and rehearsed as lead pianist to hone her skills – and what followed was a 17-year career as a musician, which saw her perform choirs, musical theatre and shows including a jazz event at Snape Maltings.
However, Emma admitted this wasn’t her original plan.
“Becoming a musician was accidental,” she said. “I had planned to go to university and follow my childhood dream, but life didn’t work out that way.
“Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I thoroughly enjoyed my musical career. It just shows you don’t have to do things conventionally – life isn’t conventional.”
In 2016, she volunteered at the Isle of Iona, described as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland.
It was here she found God calling to her.
Three years later, Emma enrolled in Trinity College Bristol, and was ordained in 2021.
For two years, she worked at Old Felixstowe Parish, which she described as ‘a lovely community’.
Outside of All Hallows, she is also studying theology, ministry and mission with Queen’s College in Birmingham.
Monday’s licensing ceremony was attended by other members of the clergy and mayor of Ipswich, Lynne Mortimer.