Born in London, Peter Burch began his professional career as a Charter Accountant, qualifying in 1960, but he then considered ordination. He went to the Christian Missionary Society and was sent by them to Onitsha in Nigeria as Accountant to the Niger Mission, supervising some 100 clerks in churches, colleges, schools and a hospital. In 1962 he attended Ripon Hall, Oxford to train for ordination, after which he first served, as curate, in the Parish of Brixton, South London – a multi cultural inner city parish. In 1965, he was asked to go to Sierra Leone to work in the combined roles of chaplain and accountant at St Augustine’s Hill Station Church, Freetown. Whilst there, he was also Hon. Chaplain for the Mission for Seamen.
On returning to England, Peter Burch became Priest in Charge at St Peter the Great, opposite the Cathedral in Chichester for four years, followed by nine years at St Mark’s, Broadwater Down, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. A further nine years was spent as Rector of Ashurst and Vicar of Steyning, in Sussex. His final appointment before retirement, in November 2002, was as Vicar at Broadway and at Wickhamford where he arrived in 1996. He was the first Vicar to hold these two parishes together.
As a result of his involvement in West Africa, he was appointed as Commissary for the Bishop of Asaba and the Bishop of Kano and also a Canon in the Diocese of Bauchi (1992) – all in Nigeria.