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Gale Richards


GaleRichardsTell us about your call to be a minister?
In 2005 I went on two short-term mission trips to Ghana, and I got more involved in leading youth work at my local Baptist church, which caused a number of people to begin to wonder if I might be called to some kind of formal ministry.  However, I did not feel I fitted the mould of what a minster was.  Five years later, I ended up working part-time for a Baptist Association and a Baptist College and as I undertook ‘minister-like’ tasks I began to recognise and act on the sense of call within me that others had seen five years earlier.  
 
Were there obstacles that you have had to overcome?
I had to get over my limiting image of what a minister needed to be like.

It was also challenging negotiating an affordable and appropriate pattern of ministerial formation that acknowledged the portfolio of prior study and ministerial experience I had already acquired.

Additionally, I continue to field assumptions others have before they meet me about my spirituality and leadership style because of my gender and ethnicity. 
 
What particular gifts has God given you for the church?
I feel particularly called to helping to identify and release gifting in others, particularly leadership potential. I am also passionate about helping people of all ages and backgrounds to develop skills in the area of theological reflection.
 
What would you do now to encourage younger women to consider a call to ministry?
I would encourage younger women to explore the range of ways that the role of a minster can be lived out by spending time with male and female ministers in different ministry contexts.

I would also encourage them to learn more about the history and diversity of the wider British Baptist context and structures (eg Regional Association, Baptist College, Baptist Assembly etc) in which they would potentially exercise their ministry.


 
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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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