Sally-Anne Beecham: ordained deacon on 30 June 2019
"God is on the move and I’m excited to be joining in!"
I’m Sally-Anne Beecham and live in Chesterfield with my husband and two children aged 12 and 14.
I became a Christian at 21 after a friend at University told me about her faith and I nervously tried her church one Sunday.
During the service the minister had a word for ‘someone new’ and then proceeded to speak of something only I could have known – it’s fair to say that Jesus had my full attention from then on!
I don’t come from a Christian family, had no experience of church growing up and will never forget how alien it all felt in the beginning. I pray I will never forget those experiences so I’ll always remain sensitive to those new to church.
My working life began as a secondary school teacher in performing arts in London, and then moved into education social work and youth offending support.
For the past eight years I’ve worked as Operations Manager at St Thomas’ Brampton, which is where the call to ordination crept up on me.
I loved my job but I realised I was becoming more and more interested in what the clergy were up to. Eventually I reached a point where the idea of not pursuing ordination left me feeling completely empty and so I began to push some doors. After local and national selection I began training at St Hild Theological College in Yorkshire in 2016.
My three years of training have been a challenging juggle of family, work, study and placements, but it’s also been an incredible experience.
The highlights were spending summer schools in Durham with the cathedral staff and spending weekends alongside the brothers at Mirfield Community of the Resurrection.
If I had to sum up what I’ve learnt I’d say - it’s not much about me and ALL about Jesus, and that if I’m flailing, it’s usually because I’m trying it in my own strength.
I’ve also been reminded of the value of community, in fact more than community - family – doing life with others, learning more about Jesus with others, and I look forward to being part of more and more families over the years.
The Ordination Service on 30 June was beyond special, made all the more so by the number of familiar faces. I’ve been truly humbled by the support and good wishes I’ve received from both my sending and receiving churches.
Since then I’ve started my curacy in Bakewell Benefice with one day a week in SS Augustines' parish, Chesterfield.
I hit Bakewell in carnival week and so induction has involved raft racing and fancy dress – what a start!
Ministry over in Chesterfield is also going to be interesting, I’ve been involved with a homeless project, Hope House Chesterfield, for the past two years and it’s great to be continuing with this.
I think ministry is going to be challenging and varied because so is life, but God is on the move and I’m excited to be joining in.
Favourite Bible verse:
Isaiah 42:16 -
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Be Thou my Vision
...both speak of God’s unremitting presence and his tenacious love, truths that keep me going.
By Revd Canon Geraldine Pond, director of vocations for the Diocese of Derby
Do you have a vocation? You may think not – but I suggest that you do!
Vocation is a word which is most often associated with being ordained but Vocation is not first and foremost about being a vicar!
Perhaps a better word to describe vocation is a “call”.
Christians all have a vocation! We are all called primarily through our baptism when we enter into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and are invited by him to shape our lives and follow him - “the way the truth and the life”.
Jesus came to show us what it is to be a fully human - human being…. Being human is about living in relationship with each other and with God; the God who created the world who loves us totally and perfectly.
Being human is especially about living in relationship; it’s about being able to love and to receive love from others and from God. In our daily/family life we are called to live in relationship which each other - to be a parent or child, a husband or wife, a brother or sister, friend or partner.
Our vocation may be to live in a family group or in a community or as a single person.
Some are called to be lay, some to be ordained.
Becoming more the person God created us to be
Our relationships and experiences of life shape us and make us the person we are becoming.
Some of life’s experiences are tough and difficult; it's not always easy to understand or make sense of things but nothing is wasted.
It's often through these moments that we learn more about ourselves and others.
And as we reflect on things that happen to us, we may discover more about God; who is with us through every good moment and every tough one.
Some of the hardest and most disappointing moments are the times of greatest learning.
In these moments we may experience a deepening of our relationship with God as we meet the human face of God in Jesus Christ and discover that human beings are also able to hope. Hope and imagine things differently.
Vocation may also be understood through the work we do; through the way we offer our gifts and talents back to God in service in response to his love for us.
Vocations come in many shapes and sizes, as many and varied as the people who are called and gifted do them; too many to include all of them here; some called to use gifts of hospitality and welcome, others music, poetry, mathematics, sport or the arts.
What is God's plan for you?
Some are called to be nurses and doctors, teachers, bankers, shop workers and so on - the list is endless; some of us at times have “no work” or paid employment and that can be hard in a culture where earning money is a priority....and some may be called to the religious life as a nun or monk…or indeed a vicar!
Vocation is about “call”, and for Christians is specifically about call by God to a particular area of ministry or work that is not understood as just a “job” but a way of being and living.
So, we give thanks at all times for those who respond to God's call to serve as members of the body of Christ in whatever way that emerges.... recognising that discerning vocation is not a “one off event” but a “lifelong” process which needs our active attention and prayer. Someone to accompany us on the journey - a spiritual director or guide can be helpful.
Listening, hearing and responding to God's call can feel like a risky/scary moment but often leads to a sense of deep inner peace and wholeness; a realisation and confidence of who we are in Christ.
Vocation is much more than being a vicar; it’s about becoming more the person God created us to be.
Vocation does not say the same for ever but changes through life; it is ongoing.
My role as Director of Vocations in the Diocese of Derby is about encouraging people to listen to God, to hear his voice and call and offer themselves in service back to God with gratitude and thankfulness.
More on vocations:
Derby Cathedral will host The Knife Angel when it comes to the city later this year.
Derby has been chosen to be one of the cities across the country to host the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression.
The spectacular 27ft sculpture, made from around 100,000 bladed weapons collected in knife banks during police amnesties across the country, will be based next to the Cathedral on Irongate, for 28 days in October.
The Knife Angel is being brought to Derby by a group of agencies and organisations across the city, including: Derby Cathedral, Derbyshire Police, Derby City Council, Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa and University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.
More than 70 local church leaders from across the Diocese gathered together at St Werburgh’s Church in Derby on 15th May for the Diocese's first Missional Leadership Symposium.
The symposium, organised by the Mission and Ministry team, was the first of a series of gatherings designed to bring the nation's best and most creative missional thinkers together with local church leaders.
Bell ringers of all ages will be ringing bells across Derbyshire on Thursday, 6th June to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Places where you can hear bell ringing in the evening include: Church Broughton, Cubley, Derby Cathedral, Eckington, Hayfield, Ilkeston, Kirk Hallam, Old Brampton, Old Glossop and Shirland. Long Eaton's bells will be ringing in the morning.
To find out more about bell ringing please visit the Bell Ringing Derbyshire Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BellRingingDerbyshire/
Image by Don Jones
In a town where so many of the residents have a connection with mining, St John the Baptist Church in Clowne is to pay a lasting tribute to the memory of the mining community with a bespoke, locally crafted mosaic.
Once completed, the mosaic will be installed on the front of the altar of the church’s Miners Chapel – which, until recently, stood unused for many years.