'Called to Serve'
The stories of the ordinands of St
Faith's, Great Crosby
Russell L. Perry
journey to ordination was long and
was accompanied by a nagging
feeling that never really went
away until I had knelt before the
bishop in Carlisle Cathedral at
the age of 59!
At the tender age of fourteen, not
long after being confirmed in St.
Nicholas Church, Blundellsands, I
felt called to ordination and
after being accepted by the Bishop
of Liverpool changed from Sciences
to Classics for O levels and went
on to A levels and Theology at
Oxford. During my studies there I
decided against ordination and
went into the family business of
laundry and dry cleaning. That
didn't enthral me at all so I took
a job teaching.
I enjoyed every minute in the
classroom and spent the next 30
years progressing from classroom
to head teacher.
I never really escaped that
nagging voice calling to
ordination and finally, after
retiring to the Lake District,
responded to a Harvest sermon to
use the P.LU.M. prayer by praying
Please Lord Use Me. This led me to
the Bishop of Carlisle and a self
supporting assistant priesthood at
My time at St. Faith's began when
I took up a teaching post at
Merchant Taylors' and in eight
years acquired a deep
appreciation of the Catholic
tradition in worship and a real
sense of the wonder and value of
sacramental liturgy. I also found
a wife whose spirituality was
steeped in Thomas a Kempis.
St. Faiths became our spiritual
home and has remained so.
My ordained ministry has been
spent in Grasmere and in the
diocese of Southwell.
I am now retired and enjoying na
dog-walking ministry in Lincoln.
It is quite remarkable how many
brief chats while out with
the dogs can become spiritual
counselling and a commitment
to pray for someone with problems.