My call to be a minister sneaked up on me; I became a Christian when I was 18 years old and from that moment had a passion to share my faith with people, to communicate God’s word in ways that would enable people to grasp the enormity of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus and to understand the freedom and the fullness of life to which they are called.
I subsequently attended Baptist churches in Scotland and in the North East of England where the prevailing teaching (in the churches I attended) was that women were not permitted to be in pastoral leadership in the church. I was involved at different
times in a whole number of different ministries in the church - from youth work to pastoral care of older people, from personal ministry and teaching our own courses in prayer ministry to establishing a voluntary service in conjunction with a local General Practice to offer support to frail/elderly people in our local community. While there was a level of satisfaction in serving in all of the above, there was also an enduring sense that I was not in the right seat!
I spent a year at Belfast Bible College during which I did a six week placement which involved leading a small Baptist Church (leading and preaching and midweek ministry); this was quite a revelation as for the first time I actually felt like I was in the right seat. However that was followed by a difficult couple of years due to family health problems and then in 2008 I was accepted to study as an independent student at Cranmer Hall in Durham. By the end of my study at Durham I realised I had taken myself down a narrower and narrower road and the only viable way forward was into ordained ministry. Overcoming the teaching I’d previously received and realising God’s call was painful and wonderful - painful because the freedom to follow God’s call had seemed hidden from me and yet wonderful because I was ready!
My passion remains the same as when I first became a Christian, which is to see people grow in faith, discern their calling in God and to release and enable people in and into ministry. To be able to do so with women in the North East of England is a particular blessing. It was the Warden of Cranmer Hall in Durham who invited me to meet with her and who identified my very clear calling to pastoral ministry – no one in my 25 years of membership in a Baptist church had done so. I want to encourage current church leaders and our associations to be actively looking for, enabling and releasing young leaders in our churches – women and men.