“There are wells of deep joy to be found in following God’s path for us. Where is God calling you?”
After having an existential crisis in my mid-teens, in the midst of seemingly having everything I needed but being acutely aware that something really important was missing, I went in search of God. I found him in church. At that moment, my life changed forever…
As soon as I became a Christian at 17, I sensed God was calling me into ordained ministry. I went on to study Clinical Sciences at university and then, during a gap year after university, I took tentative steps towards exploring this calling more. I decided to teach, and it was while I was teaching that my sense of calling intensified. To test this, I stopped teaching and became a Parish Assistant at my local church. I returned to teaching, but during a long period of illness, at the very point where offering myself for ordained ministry would seem like the most unlikely thing to do, I sensed God calling me to push open the door. I did, and the rest as they say is history!
After going through the process of discernment, I went trained at Cranmer Hall in Durham, which I loved, and then served my Curacy at a small church in Strensall, just outside of York. Since then I have served as a Pioneer Minister and am now Associate Vicar for Mission at Hull Minster.
Ordained ministry in the Church of England certainly has its challenges! But what I have found is that I have grown more and more into the person God has made me to be through following his call, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. There are wells of deep joy to be found in following God’s path for us. Where is God calling you?
I am a youth worker at The Belfrey, in York. My family and I have lived here for about 18 months. My experience in youth ministry has taken me to Warrington (2012-13), Bradford (2013-16) and Huddersfield (2018-21) in the North of England.
My journey into youth ministry was an interesting one, which included plenty of highs and lows. Following an internship with Holy Trinity Brompton, as part of the Worship Central Academy (2011-12) I headed back to the North of England in search of jobs as a Worship Minister. However, this was unsuccessful and led to a stretch of unemployment.
Following an unsuccessful interview with a church in Liverpool, the vicar suggested I spoke to a friend of his about a job in Bradford. Following a day of prayer and fasting, a man with a broad West Yorkshire accent spoke down the phone. His name was Rev. Robin Gamble. He would be the first person to provide an opportunity for me to lead a youth ministry in a local church. Following my time in Bradford I grew in experience as a youth worker, worship leader and team leader in future posts.
I believe that sharing gospel with young people, leading worship and developing teams are all callings upon my life. When I look back now, they had been nurtured from a young age (going all the way back to my teenage years when I almost became a professional footballer!).
My name is Daniel… I’m a self-supporting priest and work full time as a funeral director in Sunderland and South Tyneside. I’m attached to the parishes of St Peter Stockton and St John Elton…and in my spare time, I do a little bit of work at the local hospital as a bank chaplain.
From a young age, I had a sense of call to ordained ministry and it was something that never went away…it continued to grow and deepen. I’m not an academic person and left college with no A Levels. I began working as a funeral director which is a vocation in itself and a job I love very much.
When I went to BAP 6 years ago at the age of 25, it was assumed that I would be offering for stipendiary ministry…but somehow that didn’t feel right …I sensed strongly that I also had a vocation too as a funeral director, that somehow I was being called to both things. There were those …inside the church…who thought I was trying to take the easy option …that I wasn’t willing to give up my life.Show More
I began thinking about ordination when I was around 13. But I couldn’t imagine it as a ‘proper job’ and I struggled to figure out what priests actually did. It was only when I went to university that I began considering it more seriously. While studying, I was part of a small but friendly and faithful congregation, and local priests began encouraging me.
Towards the end of my studies a chaplain suggested I meet a vicar in Sunderland. I only had to go for one hour she said. But on the bus home I decided that I was going to spend the next year there as part of a precursor to the Ministry Experience Scheme. I loved my time there and by the end I knew that I felt called to be ordained.
The year after that I went to Westcott House to train for ordination and I’m now enjoying being a curate in the diocese of Durham. Ministry, like all walks of life, has its ups and downs. But throughout it remains a privilege to have this calling.
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.Show More
< 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.Show More
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!
< 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.
< 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.