After the service on Pentecost Sunday morning
(the Church's birthday, not Helen's...!)
Helen who is currently training for the ministry at Mirfield College is spending a month with the United Benefice. We asked Helen to let us know a little of her background and she has kindly written:
Hello everyone – I’m Helen, and I have joined you for a month mid June to mid July, as Fr. Neil’s student.
I’ve been asked to tell you a little about myself. I’m ‘forty-something’, married to Tony and we have three grown-up children. We live in Orrell, Nr Wigan, which is at the far eastern edge of Liverpool Diocese, and our home church is St Paul’s, Skelmersdale. Tony is a dental technician and local magistrate, he loves motorbikes and heavy rock music, and we have been married for 28 years.
Of our three children, none currently live at home – Daniel (27) is a design engineer but is currently in the middle of six months travelling around Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Hannah (25) is a primary school teacher. She lives locally and is counting down the days to her wedding at the end of July. Jonathan (18) is coming to the end of his first year at Liverpool Hope Uni studying primary education and sports science. He plays lots of tennis and is the drummer for the worship band at his church.
My background is in local authority social work. I have worked primarily with older people and adults with mental health issues, and particularly in palliative care and with people living with dementia. I have also worked with voluntary and community groups – accessing funding, raising awareness and building capacity. My last post before starting College last September was managing one of the Adult Social Care Transformation project streams for Warrington Council.
Speaking personally – I like local history and trying to learn foreign languages. I really enjoy walking in the hills and cycling along the canal. I like zumba and salsa classes, and enjoy the gym. Baking cakes is my favourite stress reliever, but leaves me with the problem of what to do with them! I find the safest thing is to give them away as soon as possible, so I’m not tempted to eat them! At home I’m very much enjoying my current role as ‘mother of the bride’. I’m enjoying helping Hannah make decisions about her big day; going with her to dress fittings and hair appointments; and am looking forward to her ‘spa weekend’ hen party!
I’ve been a Christian for nearly twenty years, and for about half of that time, have felt that God was asking me to consider training for ministry. Although I’d always asked God to direct my life and career choices, I continued to ignore his call even when it was expressed through family, church friends, and even non-Christian work colleagues! Finally in 2009, I gave in and went to see my vicar about exploring a call to ordination. The next twelve months of discernment and interviews passed very quickly, but the deep core of peace that I was now acting within God’s will never left me. In the past, I’ve often found myself working with people who had deep spiritual needs, but who knew nothing about Jesus, and as a social worker, I could refer them on to someone else, but couldn’t speak to them directly about faith in God. It’s incredibly humbling, but scarily exciting to think that God’s plan for my life may include using my previous experiences and skills in a more direct role within his Church.
This is my first of two years at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, and unlike some of the other Mirfield students you have met, I live at Mirfield during the week, and go home to Tony each weekend. For us, this combination works really well, but takes a lot of organising, as you can imagine – and of course, we really miss each other when we’re apart!
Finally, I’m really looking forward to spending time with you at St Faith’s and St Mary’s, worshipping and learning together.
A prayer for Helen and all students of the College of Resurrection
O God and Father of us all,
you send labourers into your vineyard:
set on fire many hearts with a sense
of their vocation and with an eager response
to your call, and to those whom you have
gathered at the College of the Resurrection
give grace to prepare in all earnestness and zeal,
that with entire consecration of heart and life
they may labour hereafter in your holy Church;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
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