'Called to Serve'

The stories of the ordinands of St Faith's, Great Crosby

Denise McDougall

My parents took me to St. Faith’s Church soon after I was born, my mother was “Churched” there and I was later baptised. I enjoyed going to Sunday School from a very early age and was hugely influenced by Miss Mountfield and Mona Turner. Father Dennis and I regularly received Sunday School prizes for being the best attending boy and girl for the year. I belonged to the Brownies and then the Guides and clearly remember the District Commissioner presenting me with my Queen’s Guide Certificate after one of the monthly Church Parade services. We had a flourishing Youth Club and the regular Saturday night discos which were held in the Church hall were enjoyed by many local youngsters. As teenagers we had great fun but also really valued our church life, probably unaware at that time of the spiritual development that was taking place. As an impressionable teenager I was inspired by a wonderful young curate Fr. Tom Stanage who went on to become a Bishop in S. Africa. During that time I also became a Sunday School teacher myself, a role which I believe played a significant part in my formation and my spiritual journey.

In 1966 I left Crosby to go to teacher training college in Bangor, North Wales. I was soon involved with a Church in Menai Bridge where I helped to run their Guide Company. After qualifying as a teacher I came back to Crosby and taught at Waterloo County Secondary School; the school became comprehensive in 1972 and we moved to Manor High, now known as St. Michael’s Church of England High School. I held a number of pastoral positions and I frequently walked beside young people who were trying to make sense of their lives or struggling with a particular situation. I met my husband at the school and we married at St. Faith’s in 1974. Our three daughters were baptised there and attended Thursday Toddler Church, a short service which I frequently helped to lead if the need arose. The girls and my husband were confirmed and our youngest was on the serving team as one of the first girls to serve as an acolyte. I became a Eucharistic Minister and during these years Fr. Richard Capper was a great source of inspiration and encouragement; as time went on I became more and more aware that God was calling me towards ordained ministry. Like so many others before me, I told myself it was a passing phase and after all why would God want me? However the strength of God’s pull never lessened and after numerous conversations with different people I was encouraged and went on to explore my vocation.

I completed the foundation course at St. John and St. James in Bootle and 12 months later in March 2000 I was interviewed at The Bishop’s Selection Conference in Ecton, Northamptonshire. I was accepted for training and began a 3 year part-time course on The Northern Ordination Course in Manchester from 2000 – 2003. I served as a non-stipendiary deacon and priest at Christ Church in Waterloo until September 2009 when I then returned to St. Faith’s as a NSM Assistant Priest, and becoming the first female member of the clergy to be appointed . Although I am now retired I still thoroughly enjoy an active ministry at St. Faith’s as well as currently serving as a Chaplain in Liverpool Cathedral and where I also preside at the early Sunday morning Eucharist on a regular basis. I also enjoy my role as a Diocesan Spiritual Director to a number of lay and clergy Directees and over the last ten years I have had the enormous pleasure of baptising all six of my grandchildren.

Not only is it a huge privilege but it is also a great joy to have served God and God’s people in so many different ways over all the years and for that I give heartfelt thanks.

See Denise's photo and entry on the St Faith's Parish Portraits page here 

The list of  ordinands