Tell us about your call to be a minister?
I worked for the YMCA before becoming a minister, and it was on a YMCA retreat day that I prayed asking God to show me what he wanted me to do with my life. I can remember putting all sorts of arguments to God as to why I shouldn't become a minister which included : 'I'm too young', 'I'm a woman', 'Will I find a husband if I'm a minister?'. Gradually God showed me that it was more important to worry about serving God than anything else. Through prayer, reading scripture and testing my hunch with a group of mature Christians from my home church I put my name forward.
I was accepted to study at Regent's Park College in Oxford, I completed my MTh in Applied Theology and was called to Woolwich Central in London. After five years, I got married and moved to Poynton Baptist near Manchester. I'm now in North London at Christ Church (Baptist/URC) and am studying for a doctorate in practical theology at the University of Chester.
Were there obstacles that you have had to overcome?
Entering into ministry is an arduous process for any person, but I remember an elder at my church did question my legitimacy as a candidate because I was a woman. Once I confirmed to him that I felt the Spirit was calling me to serve, his concerns about women speaking in church seemed to wane.
Finding a position as a minister is called 'Settlement' in the Baptist Union. All churches are required to consider women as candidates, but not all will call a woman to be a minister. However frustrating this may be, it does mean that a church who calls a woman is a forward thinking church and is open to change, which will mean that the church is a great one!
What particular gifts has God given you for the church?
I'm a good preacher and enjoy leading my congregation in different forms of learning in a service. I have a particular passion for all age worship and relish the opportunity to offer creative worship that engages every age group. My leadership style is collaborative and am able to motivate others easily. Encouraging others in prayer and developing corporate prayer has always been core to my ministries now across three churches.
What would you do now to encourage younger women to consider a call to ministry?
Go for it! If you have any inclination that the Spirit is nudging you in prayer, through scripture or through the encouragement of friends, then follow it up with something practical like preaching at your local church or attend an open day for a college. Ministerial life is flexible, inspiring and affords you the opportunity to have a varied working week of study, visiting, community projects and prayer - and so much more. You are able to work anywhere in the world, and normally there is a manse and stipend, all of which gives you a great standard of living. The church needs younger women and men to train for ministry to provide experienced leaders for the future of the Baptist Union.