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Ruth Gookey


RuthGookeyMy call into ordained ministry was definitely a process.  After a few years ministering in Albania together with my husband and family I was back in the UK and God spoke to me in a very clear and (for me) unusual way about going to Bible college.  This wasn’t even on my radar at the time – however, I went and while I was there I felt an increasing sense of call into becoming a minister.  It took a couple of years for me to do anything about it or speak to anyone – I think because I found it hard to believe God would really want me as a minister.
 
There were some obstacles – the foremost one being my own insecurity and doubt.  No-one that I can remember from my church family had ever suggested I might be gifted in this way, or encouraged me to think about it – so while they were supportive of my journey once I had embarked on it (and they were!) no one was opening doors for me.  I had to push at them all myself.  It was quite a lonely process at times, although the encouragement I received from my friends and lecturers at college was incredibly empowering.
 
I have had the privilege of living and ministering in a different language and culture, and I think this is of huge value, both personally and for the church.  I am genuinely interested in people, getting to know them, listening to their stories and helping them discover their God-given gifts and abilities, and then finding a place where they can use them, whether in the church family or outside of it.
 
In terms of encouraging younger women to consider a call to ministry I  think that giving opportunity is key and allowing both young women and men to grow up seeing as diverse a group of people as possible leading different areas in church life.  It is hard to imagine being something you cannot see!  Consider being a mentor for a young women who ask you or offer it to someone who you think would benefit from one.  I have to say that I am passionate that older women consider a call to ministry too, not just younger women.  I was 39 when I began my ministerial formation so would not have fallen into any initiatives for younger people.
 
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First black woman to become an accredited Baptist minister in our Union
Team chaplain at Milton Keynes University Hospital
Minister of Portrack Baptist Church, Stockton on Tees
A Regional Minister with the South Wales Baptist Association. She was minister of Chatsworth Baptist Church in West Norwood, London from 1990-2007.
Minister of Stapleton Baptist Church in Bristol
An undergraduate and Minister in Training at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, on placement at New Road Baptist Church
     100 years of women in Baptist ministry 
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