I grew up in Cheshire, moved aged 11 to Worcestershire and left home to read English at uni at 18. After six years as an English teacher, I began studying Christian Theology at St John's Nottingham, graduating with a Masters degree and writing my dissertation on the word autentein and whether it means 'authority' or 'usurp authority' in Paul's first letter to the young Timothy whom he wants to guide regarding appropriate leadership. I concluded that God doesn't restrict leadership in his church to those who are male by biological sex, it has far more to do with call and gifting. I am, therefore, a vicar in the Willesden Area of the Diocese of London and also privileged to share in God's mission by serving him as General Secretary of Fulcrum, on the council at the Church of England Evangelical Council and as a leader for women in my geographical area for New Wine.
I am married to Henryk and we are parents to two daughters. I blog in an attempt to open up conversation because I have learned that through conversation, painful though it might be, we grow. I first acknowledged a living faith kneeling as a Brownie in my pew in All Saints, Cheadle Hulme, listening to the words of the Prayer of Humble Access, at the age of 7. Thereafter, life became punctuated with a series of experiences which I consider my accidental discipleship. From the age of 14 I rather tried to 'go it alone' and began to write in efforts to interpret events in the world around me. At the age of 21, I threw these writings away because going it alone was not the answer. That year on a dance floor, of all places, I heard a call to get my act together - to marry the lad I had been dating for years and to commit my life to Christ.
Life in four churches between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five nurtured my call to ordained ministry. I transitioned back into the academy to engage with the Scriptures. At 28 God burst into my life with the birth of my first child and soon after this the Alpha course helped me to make sense of someone who had always known me but I had been puzzled by: the person of the Holy Spirit. In the Asia Journal of Theology we learn that "When Paul met the Risen Lord on the road to Damascus, something happened to him which completely changed his life. He had an encounter with God which revolutionized his theological conception..." Alpha was my Damascus.
My journey to ordination began with a knock on a particular front door - the one belonging to the local vicar. I explained that I would be patient and wait my turn in the queue of people who were surely arriving daily because of this amazing thing that the Holy Spirit was doing. My vicar looked taken aback but invited me in. 'I will do anything...big or small,' I said, 'just give me things to do.' I turned from passive attender to active participant in the life of my local church.
Apart from that, my testimony is not radical or earth-shattering. I didn't live one kind of life and then suddenly another: I had just lived in my own strength and then began to live in another's. I didn't have addictions that were suddenly removed or failing health that was restored: I simply developed a life-changing desire to know the Holy Spirit and to follow the Christ I encountered in the Bible. I tested God's call as I came up against other theological integrities across the broad church that is the Church of England. On finding myself challenged by a particular sermon on 'male headship' I realised God was calling me, a woman, to ordination. Despite differences over a secondary issue, regarding whether women can lead and teach church, I discovered a DNA with Anglicans who set the scriptures, the life and work of Jesus and the empowerment of the Spirit at the heart of discipleship.
You see that I am now a vicar ... and I have a front door. You might want to knock on it!