Another Church in our Circuit asked me to write a personal profile for their newsletter. I thought I'd reproduce it below as I always like knowing a little bit more about people. And heck, why let a piece of writing go to waste? If this is of no interest to you, feel free to ignore it!
During the autumn of 2003, I applied for Foundation Training, thus beginning a period of discernment in partnership with The Methodist Church. At the time, T***** and I were living in Barnet, North London and I was attending Trinity Church Enfield, a large church that is a combined Methodist / URC LEP (Local Ecumenical Partnership).
My journey to ministry did not begin with a flash of lightening or an email from God (God’s will should be so clear!), rather it was simply an inkling that I should start walking in the direction of ministry and see where the journey took me. It was a case of pushing a door to see if it opened and then moving on to test the next door. I think that God requested this gradual process because I’m a person who likes to know exactly where I am going and how I’m going to get there. God did not allow this particular journey to be so clear and I was asked to walk by faith a bit more than I would have liked!
Perhaps I was not the most obvious candidate for Methodist ministry; I have only been a Methodist member since 2000, having previously been a member of an Anglican church, an ecumenical church with a URC affiliation, and the Lutheran church in the United States. Let’s not even talk about the fact that I got my first degree in theology in 1979 from a Roman Catholic university! However, the Formation in Ministry Office made sure I was thoroughly “Methodised” before shipping me out into Circuit and my ecumenical credentials are obviously second to none. Prior to arriving in Kidderminster, I studied full time for a year at Wesley House, Cambridge, completing the course-work for an MA in Pastoral Theology and I am currently working on my dissertation.
I “retired” from my secular work in 2005, having spent 22 years working in pensions, 18 years of which were in the UK. I came to the UK in 1989 from Brussels to work for B****** ******’s Pension Fund and in 1995, I joined a company called M*****, a consulting firm that helps employers structure their employees’ pension schemes. I very much enjoyed this work and I feel very lucky and blessed to have been able to work for two excellent firms in this country. I also feel very blessed to have been called to ministry in mid-life and I hope that I can bring some of my past experience and skills into this new calling (although please note for future reference that I have no desire to be Treasurer of anything!).
Although I was raised in a Christian home and even went to a Christian primary school, my own faith journey has not been particularly smooth. There was a time in my life when I did not consider myself a Christian because I felt that being a Christian involved believing 613 impossible propositions before breakfast. I sometimes envy people who say that they had a happy, loving, Christian upbringing but I also recognise that some of the “wrestling” that I have done with both God and – more especially with the Church – has helped me to talk to other people about faith. I have learned that God is faithful and that there are no questions, doubts or struggles that are off-limits to God; after all, God invented these minds of ours that enquire and struggle after Truth and Goodness.
T***** and feel privileged to have come to Kidderminster. We find the community and the Circuit to be friendly and welcoming and we thank you all for your warm welcome and your friendship. It is my prayer that, as a Circuit and a section, we can continue to strive to discern God’s will for us and I thank you all for your patience and your assistance as I learn the ropes of being a new minister.