Stories

“..But then I met Jesus who transformed my life and my journey as a follower of Christ began.”

Pouya Heidari >

I was born in a place that enforced religion on people, so sports and especially football was my way to find an escape. I tried to leave the country by becoming a professional footballer. Naturally, ordination or even Christian faith wasn’t something I ever considered at the time.

But then I met Jesus who transformed my life and my journey as a follower of Christ began. I started to enjoy working with mission organisations like YWAM and Elam Ministries with whom I helped to plant, expand and assist churches in their growth but I thought Parish ministry was not really my cup of tea.

On one of my mission trips to Bermuda I came across an Anglican church; its vicar, who is now the current Bishop of Bermuda, really challenged my ideas and presumptions about priesthood and providing pastorally for one church while being settled long-term.

In the following years I had the honour to get to know and work with more Anglican ministers across the North East and West Yorkshire which helped to transform my understanding and the occasional question about ordination crept up and kept me thinking about my future involvement in discipleship and mission. During this time I was also introduced and invited to a ‘Step Forward’ event which helped me on the process.
I have just finished the first year of my training and looking back I can see God’s plan and His thoughts for my life have been always more than I expected. It is truly an honour to be called to ordained ministry by Him.

“..it was a blessing to see so many other individuals on their own journeys’ following God’s call”

< Isaac Sibanda

Ordination was something I tried desperately to avoid thinking or talking about, it was always something I thought other Christians did. I had other plans for my life that I was determined to follow. in all the noise and commotion taking place in my head there was no space to hear God’s still small voice trying to communicate with me. Growing up as Christian and being involved in church and ministry, it was almost inevitable that some people would ask if I had considered becoming a minister or priest. The truth was I had considered it, but it didn’t fit in with the busy life plans and goals I had for myself.

It wasn’t until I had a few conversations with people that I loved and trusted, who convinced me to prayerfully seek what God was saying to me, that I took the time to listen to God and felt a strong sense that God wanted me to explore ordination in the Anglican Church.

In the story of my calling to ordination, Step Forward was a very special milestone for me, because it helped me to understand that ordination is about what God is doing in his church, it’s about God calling us to be a part of something amazing, it may not be what we have planned or see ourselves doing but about saying yes to God’s will. Recently as a trainee ordained minister at Cranmer Hall in Durham, I had the chance to go back to Step Forward to help with the set-up and running of the day, it was a blessing to see so many other individuals on their own journeys’ following God’s call.

“I am continually amazed by what God does if you listen to Him and are willing to say yes and move forward”

Philippa Slingsby >

I first started thinking about ordained ministry when I was 23, finishing off an internship at a church in Leeds. When I had started the intern year, any question of ‘oh so you’re going to be a vicar?’ was given a resounding ‘No!’ I was just taking a year out after university, not knowing what to do afterwards, but knowing that was right for now. The internship was great, giving me opportunities to get involved in all kinds of things at the church and realise how much I loved doing it! For me the initial call from God was through people from church, and then two weeks of thinking about it non-stop, until I met with a Young Vocations advisor and said yes to considering it.

A couple of months later I went to a Step Forward event, which was a great place to meet other people also considering ordained ministry, and hear from ordinands and curates about what it’s really like. I came away both hugely excited and terrified – I realised how much I wanted this, and also how much I couldn’t do it!! Two and a half years later I have just finished my first year training at Cranmer Hall, and looking back over the last 4 years I am continually amazed by what God does if you listen to Him and are willing to say yes and move forward, however tentative the steps. Being where God is calling you is always the best place to be!

“I came away completely on fire and passionate for the calling God had set before me… to be ordained.”

< Rachel Sheehan

Hi, I’m Rachel and I am 24 years old. Since I was a child I always wanted to become a primary school teacher and it wasn’t until my final year at university studying an English Literature degree, that I realised that God had other plans. Despite feeling called, I tried to ignore it and carry on with ‘my plan’, however doors kept closing and after a little while I decided to go where God was leading me.

I started a placement in a church not far from home and it was there through my placement supervisor that I heard about the Step Forward event. I reluctantly went, thinking I was already doing what God was calling me to do, not knowing that the day would change my perspective, vocation … my life. I came away completely on fire and passionate for the calling God had set before me … to be ordained.

Now nearly three years later, I am just starting my second year at Cranmer Hall theological college in Durham and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere or doing anything else.

“Following God’s call is proving to be an awesome adventure! I thoroughly recommend it.”

Rob Suekarran >

As an ambitious seventeen year old with plans for studying medicine, my whole life would change forever when I discovered the Lord Jesus Christ.  At the same time as becoming a Christian, I also sensed that God was calling me into ordained ministry.

I went on to study Clinical Sciences at University and took tentative steps at looking into ordained ministry when I took a gap year after university, but I didn’t take it much further.  I instead decided to teach, and it was while I was teaching that the sense of call intensified.

To test the call I stopped teaching and became a Parish Assistant at my local church.  However, I decided to go back into teaching and then, when becoming an ordained minister seemed beyond the realms of all possibility, God called me.  I completed the discernment process and a year on I have started my second year at Cranmer Hall in Durham training to be a minister in the Church of England.

“It is a joy and a privilege to learn and share with others on the same journey, while being shaped by God.”

< Deborah Coyne

Hi, my ambition was always to teach, in particular deaf primary school children. So, before starting Cranmer Hall, I worked as a Special Educational Needs Teaching assistant in York. During this time I also worked in Tanzania for three months and as a parish assistant in a church in York ‘part-time’ for a year.

However, after trying but failing to run away from God’s persistent call to being a priest in the Church of England, and wrestling with my fears and dreams, I eventually said ‘yes’ to God, pushed open the door and chose to pursue it.

I am now in my second year at Cranmer Hall and loving being here! It is not without its challenges, but then adventure is never a straight forward thing, and part of the excitement can be the difficulties that we face. But it is a joy and a privilege to learn and share with others on the same journey, while being shaped by God.

Saturday 4th February 2017 (2018 date to be confirmed shortly)

11.00am to 4.00pm

Bishopthorpe Palace, York, England YO23 2GE

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