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Beatrice Anayo

BeatriceAnayo


When I was 14, I was sweeping my church with a song of praise in my mouth.  As I stopped, I heard a voice saying to me: “Keep yourself for my use.”

I ignored it once, and then twice, thinking I was imagining things.  When it repeated a third time I ran straight to the pastor’s house.  “The church is cursed,” I said, “some voice is speaking in the building.”

The pastor asked me what I had heard.  I told him.  He looked at me: “I think you are called to ministry,” he said.

“What is ministry?” was my response.  

“To become a pastor like me,” he answered.

I laughed, like Sarah.  “I cannot become a minister,” I replied.  We were in Cameroon.  I had never seen a female minister.

This is when my call to ministry began.  Initially I ignored it.  In fact, it made me angry, because I thought it was impossible.  I pursued nursing, and through this God gave me the opportunity to come to the UK.  I wanted to become a mental health nurse which, due to financial constraints, wasn’t possible in Cameroon, and then return to Cameroon to improve awareness of mental health issues.

Since arriving I have worshipped at Stapleton Baptist Church in Bristol, and here people have consistently seen and recognised my calling.  Some have approached me, even strangers, asking whether I am a pastor.  I still thought it wasn’t possible, but the more I refused, the more people around me affirmed my call to ministry.

Slowly I gave up the fight with God.

I tested the waters by exploring the Prepare for Service course for lay ministers at Bristol Baptist College.  The longer I was in the college, the more God revealed his calling upon my life to the tutors and staff.

I surrendered.  As soon as I did, the devil started reminding me of the things that disqualified me.  Gender, race; a double portion of the impossible.

But I said to the devil, “Get behind me, for God had seen all these impossibilities yet he is calling me.” I pursued ministerial formation, and throughout the Baptist Union of Great Britain’s processes my calling has been recognised, without a doubt.  God has been very faithful.  He has put wonderful encouragers along my path, especially men.
   
I believe God called me from Cameroon to be trained and ordained in the UK as a pioneer, so I could tell my story as an encouragement to others who are called into the vineyard of the Lord, no matter their gender or race.

I cry out to our Baptist Union and the Baptist World Alliance to assist me in creating awareness within the Cameroonian Baptist Convention; to ensure that female labourers whom God calls should be allowed to work in God’s harvest field freely.

Let us all work for the advancement of the Kingdom of our God, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit who will continue to enable us to yield fruitful harvests for the glory of God.


 
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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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