Ever since our church’s foundation over a century ago, members of Saint Faith’s congregation have regularly felt the call to train for the sacred ministry of the church. None other than the late Lord Runcie, former Archbishop of Canterbury, worshipped and served here before embarking on the path that led to ordination and the highest office of the Anglican Church. Our present Honorary Assistant Curate, Fr Dennis Smith, also worshipped here before training for the non-stipendiary ministry, and more recently, following a steady flow of male ordinands over the years, Mrs Denise McDougall left the pews of Saint Faith’s to become the first woman to train for the priesthood: she is currently serving as curate at the neighbouring United Benefice of Christ Church and St John’s, Waterloo.
It was wonderful to hear recently the great news that MARTIN JONES, until recently Sacristan at Saint Faith’s, has, on the second time of asking, been accepted for training for the priesthood on the Northern Ordination Course, based in Manchester, and beginning this autumn. All at Saint Faith’s share his happiness and send him and Miriam our congratulations and love. Martin will train for three years, during which time he will continue his full-time ‘day job’.
we reproduce Martin’s article in the September Parish Magazine, Newslink,
in which Martin wrote about his good news. Following this you can read
a fuller account of his background, and that of Miriam his wife. Our
shows Martin and Miriam, suitably robed for sanctuary and choir, soon
the annnouncement of Martin’s acceptance. See below for regular
from the front line when Martin finds the time from the rigours of his
‘Martin you’re a very nice chap but I’m afraid you do not meet our selection criteria.’
That was over three years ago, and such a statement
the mind, it makes you aware of who you thought you are, who you
are, and what you need to do to make yourself into what you want to be.
In other words a self-examination of identity, vocation and
It was time to address my developmental areas.
That has been my occupation over the last two years, going to college to develop spiritually and intellectually. The course has done exactly what it said on the tin, in preparing me educationally for my recent selection conference.
I went to this conference eager; I was looking forward to it, even though I knew what was ahead. At this conference, I was better, grown stronger in faith and understanding, maintained by the Spirit. The result, an unconditional recommendation for training.
St Faith’s, it’s said, is used to nurturing vocation, many candidates have gone before me and I'm sure others will follow, but it is your nurture of Miriam and me that has helped us thus far on our spiritual pilgrimage. Thank you, and God bless.
The Road to Ordination
Martin Jones is 46 years old, married for the second time, has two children from his first marriage and has 3 grand-daughters.
He served with the Royal Navy from the age of 16, until he had completed his service at the age of forty. He is now employed in the automotive industry, working with many people who have different needs.
Although baptised, he
didn’t attend church regularly
he met his second wife, whom he met whilst serving on HMS Active. The
in Liverpool for the Battle of the Atlantic celebrations in 1993, and the company of ‘the mess’ was invited to the Mersey Mission to Seafarers for a buffet lunch, where Miriam did voluntary work behind the bar. She was a life-long member of St Faith’s, and has been a member of the choir since the age of thirteen. Hence, having met Miriam, regular attendance at church began.
Following their marriage in 1994 and subsequent move to Plymouth, Martin was confirmed and had his first real affirmation of calling. He was appointed on board HMS Norfolk, by the padre, Fr Robert Coates, to lead Morning Worship each Sunday, and then had a week ‘shadowing’ the curate of St Peter’s, Plymouth to further his working knowledge of the life and work of a priest.
On his retirement from the Navy, he
native North West and returned to worship at St Faith’s. This
his sense of vocation, and he attended the Archbishop’s selection
for ordained ministry in March 2001, with the total support of the
Priest, PCC and congregation of the parish. Unfortunately, he was not
for training at that time. Due to the strength of his calling, he
his obvious disappointment, and returned to another conference in July
2004, renewed in his sense of vocation and was this time recommended
training to ordained ministry.
N.O.C. UPDATES - Martin
sends news about his course
(the most recent bulletin is posted at the foot of this page)
Bulletin No.1: October 6th, 2004
Well so far, I have one induction, one residential weekend and two evening sessions under my belt. I have gained lots of handouts, a few prayer books (including the Methodist Worship Book) and plenty of deadlines for essays.
The first piece of work has already been submitted - a workbook that helps me identify my Christian ministry in my secular life. And the next deadline is the 1st November, a short essay about St Faith’s as a church and its mission to the local community and beyond. Reading has already commenced for that task.
The group of people I find myself with are diverse, which is good because I can learn a lot from them. To give you an idea of the group, here's a few 'factoids':
… 3/4 are female,
… we are distributed across the north from Southport to Wakefield,
… in churchmanship, the majority seem to be middle to high, the second largest group is the charismatics.
... St Faith’s registers on the highest notch of the candle!
As I share the next three years with these people, I
to approach each new situation without pre-conception and with an eager
open mindedness to experience as much as I can. Prior to starting
NOC the word on my mind was discernment, just what is God's plan for
Jones. Now (although the discernment process is still ongoing) the new
word is formation: turning the person you know into something
P.S. Thank you all very much for my book tokens; (a gift from the Church. Ed.) believe me, I need them, each new module comes with its book list. It was particularly nice to be presented them on St Faith's day. Thanks again.
Bulletin No.2: December,
On a sliding scale of 1-9 I’m on 2. That is, the first term is behind me (subject to passing both of my assignments) and I’m now looking toward the next term, which starts in January.
I’ve decided, subject to the Editor’s review, to keep this sliding scale on each of my updates, to provide a visual indication of my progress - note the correctness of the liturgical colour for the first term!
My initial term has been quite an eye-opener, I have been challenged both mentally and spiritually, but I’m used to that. I have been placed into a diverse group of people from very different educational and spiritual backgrounds. The course has made me angry, made me marvellously elated and made me cry.
The transition into a course like this can be very difficult for some people; raw subjects, tensions from the time management balancing act of juggling family life, work commitments and now a new course are evident. I have been luckier than most in that I am accustomed to close communities and being in proximity to other people in situations that do not occur in daily life - I refer to my military past.
So after the first term the dust is starting to settle and the business of term two is upon me.
Term two looks as if it will be a corker! Putting aside the assignments and Easter school, one of the features will be my first official placement in a congregational setting.
I’m off to Ormskirk Parish Church in January to get
hands-on experience, in a parish that is very different from our
That is, informal services - overhead projectors and rock bands, low
with a Lancastrian flavour! I do not know what that means but I
to find out!
In my placement I will be preaching - for the first time, experiencing bereavement and hospital visiting, a trip to the crematorium, the occasional offices and taking part in various group activities. I’ll be back at St Faith’s for Lent and Holy Week.
This next term will be tougher than the last in that it is academic and practical, but whatever form this experience takes I welcome it. Next update post Easter school.
With best wishes, Martin.
Bulletin No.3: May, 2005
Hello everybody, welcome to my end of term report. On a scale of 1-9 I’m on three! The subject of this term has been liturgy and history. We have been lectured on the occasional offices (weddings and funerals etc) the liturgical church year, the Eucharist and the origins of daily prayer, which I chose as my subject for one of the terms assignments. This second term has been demanding, diverse and formative. Looking back on it I can see three highlights. Initially the term started with my placement at Ormskirk Parish Church, in March there was a weekend away in Mirfield on a silent retreat, and the term concluded with my first Easter school.
It was necessary to complete a congregational placement in a church that was as far removed from St Faith’s in churchmanship as possible. Ormskirk Parish Church (OPC) worships in a low evangelical style and being only 20 minutes from home seemed the ideal choice.
I would be lying to you if I said I found the worship style easy to adjust to, it was a very different environment for me, and to my shame I found worship difficult. This left me at a low spiritual ebb, but this feeling was not unique to me, my fellow students were experiencing something similar as they too were submerged in the unfamiliar. This was only an initial reaction and as I became familiar with practices and began to get to know people, some of my inhibitions vanished and I found myself integrating into a worshipping community.
The time and support I was given by the clergy and people of OPC was considerable. I was able to share the ministry of the vicar, the curate and house group leaders. I observed school assemblies, took part in hospital visiting, mothers’ and toddler groups (being a granddad came in handy!) retirement home communion, funerals and bereavement visiting, leading worship and preaching for the first time.
The whole placement was such a privilege; I look back on it with warmth. I will keep in touch with a few folk and the vicar has invited me back to preach on Ascension Day.
The first weekend in March was a silent retreat at Mirfield, another first for me. As you may know I consider Mirfield as a bit of an oasis and it was exactly that. We were allowed to share the weekend with the brothers; we worshipped and ate with them. As we ate our evening meal on Saturday, in silence of course, the Superior read to us from a book that the brothers were sharing. It has been many years since I have been read to. I found it strangely comforting. For Sunday morning worship we joined with the full-time students from the College of the Resurrection. The weekend was spent entirely on reflection and worship, save a meditation on the book of Tobit, and finished in achieving my personal intent, my Easter confession.
While some of you were getting ready for the Easter party I was back with my old friend the M62 and on my way to Wakefield for Easter school, from Easter Sunday to Low Sunday.
The staff of NOC have been extremely clever in the design of this week, each student will experience the week differently, it is hoped that all will be changed by it in some degree or other.
The theme of the week was Christian mission in a plural world, i.e. how we as Christians relate to the beliefs of other world faiths. During the week I visited a Hindu temple and a Mosque, both in Bradford, the encounter was formative and I am still reflecting on the experience.
We listened to the experiences of a Methodist minister who works with all the communities in his circuit, promoting respect, understanding and tolerance in a post riot and post nine eleven environment.
Also we heard about the life of a Roman Catholic Nun who lives with another sister on an estate in Bradford, which is predominately Muslim. One thing that sticks in my mind that she related to us was a question from (not for the first time) her neighbour who was trying to understand her and her faith, ‘tell me sister, about the resurrection.’
Back in Wakefield we were deliberately placed in stressful working conditions climaxing in an assessed assignment that could only be completed by collaboration and teamwork. I started the week with a particular view of salvation and as the week progressed through discussion, through listening and some confrontation, by mid-week I had no idea of what I believed. Then through lectures and working groups we started to put each other back together again, only changed. I now have a different view of salvation, I relate differently to Muslim, Jew and Hindu, the week forced me out of my Christian box and shook me about, before allowing me back into it.
It was a powerful week, well designed and executed, my views have changed but at least they were able to change and will do so again in the future. That may sound that I have no foundation; not true. Easter school brought me closer to my fellow students and intensified my relationship with God. Well done, NOC!
This next term is entitled, ‘The Interpretation and use of Scripture, part 1. The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.’ I feel a few late nights coming on!
Take care and God bless,
Bulletin No.4: August, 2005
Hello everybody, on a scale of 1-9, I’m on 4! The first academic year was completed in June and, as I write, things are starting to gear up to commence with the new term in September.
Although the term has finished, we have been left with plenty of assignments and tasks to keep us occupied over the summer months-I have made a mental note to book next year’s summer holiday after my assignments are completed and not before! However, I have handed in my latest essay, ‘What is the ideology of Deuteronomy and what are its continuing effects on Judaism and Christianity.’ Yes, last term’s subject was the Old Testament and very interesting it was too. I even managed to get Miriam and Mona sharing the experiences of Isaac and Rebecca by having them study my exegesis of Genesis 26:1-16, but I have spared them the Deuteronomy essay, although Miriam does proof-read all my work.
At the end of last term we witnessed the third year students being commended to their future parishes. This was an emotional experience for many, NOC life coming to an end, separation from fellow students and ordination only days away. It was a simple service, with family and friends present but packed with a mixture of what lay ahead combined with what had been accomplished.
Looking back over the past year it has become clear that the process of formation has been and is taking place. That in itself is quite incredible, I am not the person I was twelve months ago. I think even reading my past end of term reports a difference can be perceived; I know that I can notice the change. One such change - not so much a change but a development of something that was already present - is the flowering of my love for Christ. It’s often said that when a human relationship ends, over a quarrel for instance, you didn’t realise what you had until it was no longer part of your life. I had that same sort of feeling, not a loss of faith but a realisation of its intensity that had been previously unknown to me. The feeling is difficult to describe, especially without appearing to be over sentimental, but I feel it, I carry it around with me and it makes me smile.
Looking ahead to next term, we will be
alongside new members joining in September and also new members joining
us as second year students who are only studying for two years instead
of the standard three. Along the way, some of our company are now
following different paths, so things do change; in fact NOC is only the
same for twelve months, as one year leaves, another joins.
We start at Wakefield Police College; the immediate tasks for me will be to take part in a group presentation on Franciscan spirituality and to lead worship over the weekend, both of which I am preparing for now. For the year group as a whole we will be looking at the New Testament. We begin with the Book of Revelation, a study that I will be sharing with Mona - well I did let her off with Deuteronomy.
Cheerio for now and God bless, Martin.
On Monday, August 16th, Martin preached his first sermon at St Faith's (or amywhere else, actually!). On the previous day he had presided over the susages and burgers at the Parish Summer Barbecue, which was blessed by fine and hot weather. History does not record whether our ordinand sweated more sizzling sausages or preparing his sermon! Our photo shows Martin and his wife Miriam (Churchwarden and Chorister at Saint Faith's) posing by the pulpit after the service.
No. 8: August 2006
On the Sunday before
the ordination (the Feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist), Fr Neil
Kelley's sermon focussed on Martin's forthcoming translation.
Click here for the text of the sermon.
final Bulletin -
No. 10: May 2007
In and out of control – Martin Jones
This article may turn out to be a little strange! I would like to try and share with you my state of mind (don’t laugh) from the beginning of the day to after the moment of ordination.
July 1st ‘O’ day! After our pre-ordination retreat the day had finally arrived, the climax of the last three academic and formational years, together with the many years of spiritual searching and discernment, the ordination of eleven individuals into the diaconate.
To say that the atmosphere at breakfast was expectant would be an
understatement; this day saw the beginnings of many ‘first of
Our breakfast table, which comfortably seated our entire party, had
been thoughtfully decorated with printed sheets of A4 that declared ‘O
Happy Day’ by the catering staff of St. Deiniol’s library, the location
of our retreat in Hawarden, North Wales. This small gesture
prompted a mental determination that nerves would not get the better of
me and that today would be a celebration and affirmation of calling, a
day that would change me forever and be forever remembered.
An outbreak of slight paranoia amongst the ordinands threatened to upset the calm confidence enjoyed at breakfast, ‘What if somebody breaks down [their car] we should all go in convoy,’ and ‘I don’t know the way to the Cathedral from the tunnel exit!’ We immediately formed a discussion group and an order of departure determined, the trumpet sounded and we departed in convoy Cathedral bound, arriving unsurprisingly early.
It’s funny isn’t it, how calm you can sometimes feel when travelling, because we have control, the motorway is empty, our speed unhurried, its only when we drive through the streets of Liverpool and the tower of the Cathedral is visible in the roads ahead, that you become aware that the journey is ending and that control is going to be given over to others.
I am thankful that we arrived in good time, the Cathedral was quiet
with few people around, I had chance to walk around and collect my
thoughts, a fellow ordinand and I walked purposely and quietly to the
Lady Chapel for a few moments of prayer.
From then on time seemed to be meaningless, we went from one ‘happening’ to another, as we were robing Bishop James arrived and prayed with us and wished us well, before we knew it we were formed up ready to process in.
As I have commented to many of you, the next two hours passed
without noticing the time. The liturgy delivered on the
expectations of the day, the service oozed celebration, awe and mystery.
Then came my big moment, all the years of server training came into play, I processed slowly and deliberately, almost but not quite a slow march (this is of course my perceptions of my behaviour you may have seen something completely different) hands held together in a gesture of prayer, taking the corners at right angles to bring me kneeling in front of the Bishop. As hands were laid upon me I opened my arms in prayerful submission to the office about to be bestowed and my hands shook uncontrollably. I did not close my arms I let them be.
The next few moments I was dominated by a changing awareness of being. It seemed that my mind was dealing with sensations that my body was struggling to catch up with. Hearing the rite of ordination, feeling the weight of hands, seeing my hands shake but not feeling them do so, all that I am and what I will be, given to this instant in time, abandoning control. Then the moment had passed, control returns, no more words, I bow to the Bishop and look at a fixed point in space processing back to my place, I no longer shake, my body relaxes and my mind races with the enormity of the future, that things will never be same; everything has a new and different perspective not only for myself but also for my family.
Every person in the Cathedral that day experienced something different, they saw and felt something that their neighbour did not and vice-versa, I had experienced an alternating feeling of being controlled and being in control, experiencing those emotions in a mix of liturgical and relational situations. It was indeed a happy and unforgettable day.
So why am I going on about being in and under control? It’s
the only way I can find to express to you what it felt like, in fact
that is exactly the question Fr. Neil posed to me in the well of the
Cathedral after the service, and explains the expression on my face, he
asks, ‘What did it feel like?’
With love and best wishes to you all,
on June 2nd was indeed a wonderful day, not just for him, but for the
croiwd of witnesses from our parishes who joined this latest in
the long line of ordinands from our churches, in the Cathedral in the
morning and then welcomed him back to St Faith's Hall for a
For lots of pictures, and some words,
about this great event click
To end this
saga of reports, we reproduce the two letters of thanks Martin and Mim
wrote to the people of our parishes aftet the dust had settled. They
mark an end and a beginning, (parting is such sweet sorrow, as someone
said). We know we shall see them both again, we thank them for all they
have con tributed here over so many years, and wish them both every
blessing in their ministry and for the years ahead.
A HUGE THANK YOU
Its usual to turn to your family when you’re in trouble or crisis, how lovely to have your family turn to you with and in a shared celebration.
A lot has already been said about the 1st July 2007, I’m sure if any more articles about it are published we could incur Martin and Miriam fatigue! The day would not have been the day it was without you. By ‘you’ I mean a collective everybody: those from both of our churches who shared the day in the Cathedral, those who came from afar and those who stayed behind to prepare for our mini reception.
And what a reception you gave me, I am still moved when I think of it, as I said in my speech it wasn’t just about ‘O’ day, it was about all that had gone before to get me there, your encouragement, love and support in times good and bad.
Thank you so much for your generous gifts, I have a shoe box full of cards that I will keep always, we have spent a few vouchers at John Lewis for our home and I have brought a couple of books and that ‘must have’ stole – remember I am Kelley trained! The remainder of my book vouchers will go on books I need as my training progresses.
Bye for now, with my prayers and best wishes,
Not to be outdone….a massive THANK YOU!
As you know, I usually have the last word! (Or in this case, several!) I just want to reiterate what Martin has said, but also to add my personal thanks for all the good wishes afforded to me upon our departure from regular worship at St Faith’s.
Many people have understood what a wrench it has been to leave my beloved home parish, but leave we must. St Faith’s, however, will never leave me. I don’t mean the building, I am talking about the family. Recently, we have been fortunate that the family has been extended to include St Mary’s and they have also been a great support.
So, thank you for all your love, support and kindness over the years and we’ll see you soon…Patronal Festival, if not before!
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