Displaying items by tag: ordinand 2022

I was taught and genuinely believed women were not allowed to preach if there were men around because it was sinful

Cathie Watson: to be ordained deacon in July 2022

Hi I'm Cathie. I've lived in various places across the UK but this is my first time living in the Midlands.

I'm from South Wales but I've also lived in Surrey and most recently in Bristol.

Growing up I never would have dreamed of getting ordained.

The only female minister I'd ever seen was Geraldine Granger, the Vicar of Dibley! I thought that because it was a TV programme women vicars were also fictional as I'd only seen men in church leadership roles!

I remember once in the independent church I attended when I was 17 that the son of one of the elders was getting the chance to preach.

As one of the only other young people there I found myself thinking: "Why does he get to share the things God shows him about the Bible with others but I don't just because I'm a girl?"

But I quickly smothered that thought down because I was taught and genuinely believed that girls and women were not allowed to preach or teach if there were men around because it was sinful. 

When I went away to university I saw a couple of women preaching for the first time.

Sadly, this was not an eye opening moment that it wa okay because they were not the most enigmatic preachers!

I thought it must be a sign that God doesn't want women to preach rather than than perhaps those individuals may benefit from extra training!

However, a few months later a friend of mine convinced me to go to the student version of Soul Survivor for the first time.

Here I heard Ali Martin preaching.

She was such a gifted communicator who preached amazing things about Jesus, I couldn't believe it.

But I still wrestled with the fact that proof exists (1 Timothy 2:12) and figured Ali must be an exception, not the rule.

Years later, after I met and married my husband, he was exploring ordination.

He kept telling me that I should be looking tooand used to leave copies of the ordinal around the house for me to read.

One day, when clearing up (a rare occasion!), a copy caught my eye and I decided to read it to see what Aidan was signing himself up for.

As I read it I couldn't understand why the ordinal was just for ordained people - surely all Christians are to live this way?

I said as much to him and to a lecturer at Trinity and they both confirmed separately that no, sadly not all Christians do feel called to this. 


Conversations with God

I started wrestling with God and felt very annoyed at him.

The conversation/prayer went like this:

Me: "God, Why have you made me feel like the ordinal resonates so much and why give me certain gifts that could bless the church and world if I'm not allowed to as a woman!?" 

God: "why do you think it's not okay for you to do these things as a woman?"

Me: "Because the Bible says so." 

God: "Don't you think I know what the Bible says better than you do?"

Me: "Touché." 

God: "Go read and listen to what other Christians who accept women in Christian leadership say the Bible says and then let's talk about this some more." 

Me: "Bit pointless because I already know what it says but okay…" 

That day I found a talk from a previous Soul Survivor festival where Krish Kendiah simply laid out different bible passages side by side which complementarians and egalitarians draw their understanding from.

I had no idea there were so many Bible passages and examples of Jesus' treatment of women that affirmed women in leadership.

As I heard them side by side, I was increasingly gobsmacked.

I distinctly remember that when he read out Galatians 3:28 - "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" - that I felt like a bolt of lightening of understanding go through me from holy spirit.

I wept with inexpressible joy, peace and freedom. I felt God say "I told you so, now I want you to use those gifts and calling for me." 

The road since then has been strange with a mixture of highs and lows.

After completing my time at Trinity College Bristol, having my son during that training, and my husband finishing his curacy in Bristol, I'm so excited to get to serve Jesus in an ordained capacity at St Werburgh's Derby (STW).

I'm looking forward potentially to a Church plant as part of my curacy along with helping university students grow in faith and confidence in the gospel and to show Derby that the gospel is good news for all.

Favourite Bible verse: I don't actually like to pick out individual verses because I think the lack of context can confuse or muddy the meaning! But for the sake of this I'd probably go with Phil. 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Favourite Christian song: I'm going to cheat and use two - Good Good Father by Chris tomlin because I'm always reminded what a good Father God is and Reckless Love by Cory Asbury because I think it's a great proclamation of truth about God's love for us. 

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I enjoy spending time outside and connecting with God through the natural world

Jo Harbidge: to be ordained deacon in July 2022

My name is Jo Harbidge and I have just completed two years training at Trinity College Bristol, where I completed a post-graduate diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission and have begun a research Masters (MTh) in Mission.

I’m currently exploring hospitality as a model for mission and have a particular interest in the church’s response to refugees and asylum seekers.

I will serve my curacy in the parish of St John’s, Walton, close to Chesterfield.

I grew up in St Albans and have had a faith since my earliest days in Sunday school.

As a teenager, this faith developed through trips to the Taizé community in France and Soul Survivor summer festivals and church.

I love connecting with God in different ways and finding out where the Spirit is at work amongst those who know Jesus.

I have sensed a call to serve in the church since my teens but it has been a long journey of gaining experience in different areas to finally bring me to full-time training and ordination.

There hasn’t really been a ‘lightbulb’ moment so much as a steady and growing awareness in those around me, and in myself, that this is where God is asking me to go next.

Prior to training, I worked in mid-Wales, in secondary education, for more than 15 years.

I love learning and helping others to learn, a theme that has continued through my time at college and I hope to be able to help support and inspire others in their learning about God and faith in the future.

I enjoy spending time outside and connecting with God through the natural world.

I like trying to grow things and am excited by how the church can connect with local communities through outdoor activities such as prayer walking, community gardens and allotment spaces.

I’m looking forward to exploring the Peak District and learning more about a beautiful area of the country!

Favourite Bible verse: Acts 2:42-47, where Luke describes the fellowship and devotion of the early believers as the church began to grow.

Favourite hymn: It’s hard to pick a favourite hymn but as someone who has lived in Wales for many years Dyma Gariad (Here is Love) has got to be up there!

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I felt that I’d missed out on so many years with God and I want others to have the opportunity

Fiona Barber: to be ordained deacon in July 2022

Hi, I’m Fiona and I will serve my curacy just south of the city in Sinfin Moor.

I have just finished an amazing three years studying a BA in Theology, Ministry and Mission at St. Mellitus College, East Midlands and The Good Shepherd, Loughborough.

Although I spent my childhood attending church I didn’t come to faith until my mid-thirties, through an Alpha course.

I have had a passion for mission from the outset because I felt that I’d missed out on so many years with God and I wanted others to have the opportunity to know God’s story and to be able to choose to follow Him.

"The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood." (John 1:14) This verse is my inspiration to share my faith in my neighbourhood and encourage others to do the same so I’m thrilled to be serving my curacy in a pioneering setting on a new housing estate in Sinfin Moor, working to build community amongst those who come to live and work there.

I am creative at heart having studied Jewellery and Silversmithing at art college and having used my creativity later as a primary school teacher and then as children's and families leader in my sending church.

I move to Derby with my husband, Martin, and our two daughters, Alice, (21) who is at Leeds University and Rosie, (18) who will be heading off to university this autumn.

We are looking forward to the adventures and opportunities that God has for us in this new place and with these new people.

Favourite Bible verse: John 1:14 (The Message) “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.”

Favourite hymn: I have a vast range of taste musically (my CD collection has from Abba to Stormzy in it!) - my two favourite hymns/songs are also on different ends of the spectrum: “Be Thou my Vision” and “Oceans” by Hillsong.

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I’m grateful that no tear is ever wasted by God

Fay Price: to be ordained deacon in July 2022 

My home town is Cheltenham in Gloucestershire and I have was hugely privileged to grow up in a Christian home.

I had various life challenges and got a bit angry with God in my teens, but God continued to pursue me and I returned to church age 20 and sensed a call to ordination in the first year of my return to faith, so have been carrying the call for about 22 years now!

It’s a delight to start my curacy at St Alkmund's this year and hope that God will use me as he sees fit! 

I have a career background in theatre in education and education administration which involved my last five years prior to ordination working for the Diocese of Gloucester education team. 

I am passionate about helping people to understand something of the depth of God’s love for them and the world and am motivated by discipleship, mission and supporting people to draw close to Christ in the midst of all types of suffering and grief.

This is much of my own personal testimony and I believe it’s part of why God has called me to His church.

I’m grateful that no tear is ever wasted by God. 

Other passions include, in no particular order: coffee, cheese, prayer, my cat Bundle, my family and gorgeous God children, lego, and reading.

I also have a hugely eclectic music taste which can make people chuckle. Does anyone else remember and love the Wombles?! 

Favourite hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness and favourite modern worship song is Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, because that’s the God I know and can testify about! 

Favourite Bible passage: Isaiah 61 - Sums the gospel up beautifully and sums up my journey with God, too! 

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My passion was trying to help children and families have the best possible quality of life

Rhiannon Singleton: to be ordained deacon in July 2022

My name is Rhiannon, and I was brought up in the Salvation Army until my parents moved us to a Presbyterian church when I was 15.

This started theological reflection and questioning as I started trying to reconcile very different understandings of some Bible passages. 

I chose to attend an Anglican church aged 17 but, after marrying, we attended one of the new churches for many years. 

We moved to Glossop in 1999 - convinced God wanted us in an Anglican church - and have been part of Whitfield Parish since then.

During this time, I have been a member of and led small groups, been on the prayer ministry team, on PCC and Deanery Synod and helped with a variety of church events, particularly enjoying helping with Messy Church and holiday clubs.

I was a Street Pastor for nearly a decade. 

It was a privilege to show God’s love in this way and fascinating seeing and hearing what unchurched people thought about faith and the church. 

I learned a huge amount, including that many non-Christians are comfortable asking faith questions when they are ‘on their own turf’ but would not consider entering a church to ask them.

I worked for the NHS most of my working life, as a children’s physiotherapist working with children with disabilities and their families in the community.

My passion was trying to help children and families have the best possible quality of life, given the disabilities children had and I took on roles which allowed me to forward this agenda.

I retired early when Occupational Health decided my health was not compatible with working with these children.

My husband Geoff and I met as students and have been married for 40 years and we have 2 (or 3) children, depending on how you count: our birth sons Barney and Pete, and Myrle, who we fostered decades ago and remains part of our family.

I love walking in the country, gardening, reading, sewing and knitting - when time allows.

Favourite hymns: there are so many, I might choose different ones on different days. Today's are ‘Thine be the Glory’ and ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’ by Rend Collective.

Favourite Bible verses: Among my favourites are John 3.16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life", Rom 12.1-2 and Eph 3.14-21.

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Communion service is where I feel closest to Jesus

Lisa Taylor: to be ordained deacon in July 2022

I am excited to be joining the United Benefice of Atlow, Bradley, Hognaston, Hulland and Kniveton in July.

I am originally from Birmingham and I grew up in a secular family, coming to faith in 2011 and feeling a call to ordination soon after that, although I did not seriously explore ordination until 2016.

My ordination training was at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.

After I left school, I joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a telecommunications operator, where I had a great career and enjoyed doing many sports including fencing and luge.

Twenty-eight years later, I left the RAF to answer my call to ordination.

Whilst working with the Oxford Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO), I worked in Aylesbury Prison as a teaching assistant, helping the young men who had learning difficulties with their education.

For me, it was a blessed time where God helped me to work with people who I would not normally have had chance to meet.

My sending church is: Church of the Holy Spirit in Aylesbury.

I have been on the PCC and Deanery Synod along with a number of other roles within the church.

I was also a Street Angel for the Aylesbury Church network, where we go out as a team of three on a Friday or Saturday evening in Aylesbury Town centre representing God’s presence and to care for the night-time economy.

A move to Derbyshire is exciting as I enjoy walking, so I am looking forward to exploring the five parishes of the benefice in the glorious countryside.

I also enjoy gardening and cooking, although baking is not something I have been able to master - yet.

My preferred service is the communion service, it is where I feel closest to Jesus.

One of my favourite hymns: In Christ Alone.

One of my favourite Bible verses: Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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I have particularly been able to focus in on Disability Theology

Sam Mackie: to be ordained deacon in June 2022

Hi, I’m Sam! I’m originally from down south in rural Gloucestershire, you may be imagining cheese-rolling and Hot Fuzz, and I wouldn’t want to stop you thinking that!

For the last three years I’ve been living in Birmingham and training at the Queen’s Foundation.

From the breadth of study within Theology, Ministry and Mission and my own research, I have particularly been able to focus in on Disability Theology.

This comes from my own identity as a disabled person but also the joy of exploring the vastness of Jesus Christ.

Gradually travelling north, I left for Herefordshire to train in graphic design.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have developed a lot of church branding, websites and posters over the years.

It was also during this time I started to discern where God was calling me.

Having explored religious life (being a nun!), and working full-time praying for people over the phone, I decided to work for a year in a parish church in Hereford.

The idea of being a priest completely terrified me but I kept exploring what this might look like!

[Somewhere in this time I had my next-door neighbour tell me that she didn’t believe women should be ordained.

Rather surprisingly, this is the clearest moment I felt God calling me. Instead of feeling threatened by this, it lit a fire in me, giving me a deeper knowing that God was calling me to become a priest.]

Before coming to Birmingham, I had the joy of getting to be a part of the Chaplaincy team at Keele University.

It was there that I started to more seriously embrace God’s call to ordained ministry, where I had the privilege and the invitation to travel with those in their everyday experiences - a ministry of reaching those on the margins and a practicing to be a visible reminder of God’s love through hospitality.

On days off I’m likely to be exploring Derbyshire countryside with my trusty camera, cooking with friends, or print making.

It’s with this mixture of experience that I come to be ordained deacon, very excited and possibly a little less terrified than before.

I look forward to serving as curate across Swadlincote Minister.

Favourite Bible verse: I always love the passages which involve food and where we get the reminder that God came to be with us. Jesus’ meal with Zacchaeus does both these things, where He says: ‘“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”’ (Luke 19:10)

Favourite hymn: Very difficult to pick one, but I always love a song that gets everyone singing with enthusiasm. So I’ll go for: Tell Out, My Soul.

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I've always had a sense of calling to ordained ministry, but assumed that either God or I had got it wrong!

Elliot George: to be ordained deacon in July 2022

I'm Elliot, and for almost all of my 32 years I've lived in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire.

I'll be ordained in July 2022 as the new curate for the Dronfield with Holmesfield Parish, and Megan and I are really looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us up there!

We're particularly looking forward to engaging with young people, music, and bridging connections with the parish's five churches.

Although I've been a "Christian" for my whole life, it wasn't until I was 13 when I first encountered the Holy Spirit that I began to have a true relationship with Jesus – showing me the errors of my adolescent mischief but surrounding me with his love and grace.

God has never failed to be with me even through my darker days, and more than ever I know that he is strong when I am weak.

To some extent, I've always had a sense of calling to ordained ministry, but assumed that either God or I had got it wrong!

For a long time I wanted to be a psychiatrist/therapist, hoping to help people by helping them understand themselves better; but academia wasn't my friend as a teenager and I never went to uni, instead I worked in electronics for a decade.

During this time, my role at church grew and expanded – worship leader, youth leader, PCC member, preacher, etc – but it wasn't until I proposed to Megan in 2016 that I felt the call to ordination reawaken, and felt a fresh outpouring of God's grace amongst my many failures and weaknesses.

Three years of patience, discernment, support from friends and family, and finally a thumbs-up from the Bishop's Advisory Panel, and we were off to train at Trinity College Bristol, and earn that degree I'd missed out on the first time around!

So here we are, on the brink of ordination, (which is both exciting and terrifying!) and I've never been so sure that God has amazing plans for us to bring his kingdom on earth, alongside amazing people to share this calling with.

A particular passion of mine is helping others to see their own calling, and hopefully helping them grow into the person God made them to be, so let’s get started together!

Favourite Bible verse: Psalm 23 has always had a special place in my heart, and helped me know God even in the valleys. But, as clichéd as it is, John 3:16 for me summarises the whole gospel in one verse: God lovingly and graciously gave his Son that we may have life to the full.

Favourite worship song: "So Will I" by Hillsong, which not only beautifully speaks of God's creation and Jesus's redemption of the world, but declares how I will respond in worship and service to him. "I can see your heart eight billion different ways, every precious one a child you died to save. If you gave your life to love them, so will I."

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What is a vocation?

Do you feel you are being pulled in a certain direction? Do you have a strong and overwhelming urge to do a particular job, be involved with a particular group of people or to use your skills to help others in a certain way?

It may be that you feel pulled in a new direction, or it may be that what you do already is your vocation.

We all possess some God-given gifts, some skills and some talents. But often we don’t fully recognise how gifted we are because these gifts have been with us for a long time and it is easy to take them for granted.

Or they may have been hidden in the shadows for some time. But there is in all of us something that people recognise and come to us for.

And their desire to do this is acknowledgement that we have something special that they don’t see in others. Read more.

Explore Your Calling: This PDF will help you take time to reflect and pray on how God is calling you.

↓ Download the PDF

↓ Download the accompanying booklet

Use the booklet to record your reflections as you are prompted by the questions.

This is something that you can work through in your own time and at your own pace.

You may want to respond to the questions and record your responses and then revisit it a few months later and reflect on how you’ve changed and developed.


Are you interested in exploring ministry further?

The Diocese of Derby wants to encourage gifted people - just like you - to consider where God is calling you.

We hold Vocational Reflection Days several times a year- you can spend time with others who are exploring how God might be calling them. For more information and to sign up for the next Vocational Reflection Day go to Eventbrite.

Could you be a Church Leader of the future? If you feel a sense of calling, whether to ordination or lay ministry, we will help you explore that and consider what to do next.

Watch the video "Called"


More information


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