Bruce Johnson: ordained priest, 29 June 2019
Bruce Johnson, a former IT project consultant, joined the Diocese of Derby as an assistant curate following his Petertide ordination on 1 July 2018. He is currently serving the parishes of Heanor, Langley Mill, Aldercar and Marlpool.
He trained part time for ordination, firstly with Lancashire and Cumbria Theological Partnership and then with All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry, whilst undertaking roles in the Netherlands and the UK.
Bruce said: "Working and studying part time is not an easy option but, like many, we are proof that it can be done!"
He would be the first to admit that his journey to ordination wasn't entirely easy, but was definitely rewarding: "It has led me to many interesting places and through a great deal of varied and different experiences that I certainly wouldn’t have expected to ever go through.
"Reflecting upon these, both at the time and in retrospect, I can clearly see God’s hand guiding me throughout and, as a result, my vocation has developed.
"As I continue on my vocational journey I am very much looking forward to this next challenging but very exciting new phase of ministry and life.
"I am enjoying meeting my new communities and having the opportunity to share God’s love and sacraments with everyone I meet."
Hearing God's call
Like many, Bruce can't put his finger on 'the moment' he felt the call to ordination, but rembers clearly two significant incidents that left him in no doubt it was the right way to go: "The first was my first week at university when, aged around 18, I began to see with increasing clarity that the gifts God had given me were able to help others around me grow in faith and knowledge.
"The second was perhaps the most poignant; whilst working in Romania I had the opportunity to be involved in helping various communities grow both through physical action and also the support of the sacraments.
"For me the centrality of the sacraments, whether it be the Mass/Holy Communion/Eucharist/Lords Supper/ Breaking of the Bread or the other sacred sacraments, is principle to my calling and therefore very important to my spiritual life.
"Being able to partake in these, leading and walking with others is a central element in my life.
"Time and time again it has been confirmed to me that I am following God’s pathway and I am really looking forward to getting to know more about Derbyshire, the diversity of the districts and the people who make this county their own.
"I am sure I will soon get to know more of this vibrant county, the fabulous Christians who are active in their communities and the wonderful explorations and expressions of faith which I know are being constantly blessed here."
So would he recommend others to follow their calling? Of that he has no doubt: "God calls each of us to be ourselves firstly but to also allow those in the vocational exploration process to help and support us in determining what that call may be.
"It may take some time but if you feel called, trust in God and, with the help of the vocations team, allow yourself to explore what he is calling you to be."
Bruce is married to Sarah and has three grown-up children and one grandchild; some of whom live locally.
Bruce said: "Prior to moving house in June, we lived near Lancaster in a very rural setting. We now live in Ripley; a very different community setting - but everyone has made us feel extremely welcome."
See also: Explore your calling with us
‘Will your anchor hold?’ and ‘Longing for light, Christ be our light’, both having very specific lyrics which mean a lot for Bruce in his ministry today
Favourite Bible passage:
Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11 - ‘For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope’
Favourite prayers include:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life. Amen
St. Francis of Assisi