#NewRevs - It's a Doc's life
When you put on a stethoscope, you don't expect to hear the voice of God. But that's what has happened for three GPs who will be among 18 new deacons to be ordained at Lichfield Cathedral this weekend.
Alison Storer, Robin Trotter and Abigail Walsh (pictured above) will join 11 other women and four men from a variety of backgrounds who will become curates after two or three years of training.
Following their ordination as deacons by the Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, at services on Saturday and Sunday, they will start their parish ministry in a variety of places across Lichfield Diocese including several in non-stipendiary (self-supporting) roles.
Alison grew up in Manchester before heading off to London to study medicine. She will continue to work as a GP while being a self-supporting curate at her home parish in Penn, near Wolverhampton. “Medicine always was a vocation for me and one of the things I’ve struggled with over the years is whether it’s possible to have two vocations in a life-time,” she said. “It’s going to be a new experience for the parish because they’ve never had a minister in secular employment. Where I work (as a GP) is a rich missionary field, it’s inner city and deprived, it really is where Jesus would be. You are doing pastoral care on a daily basis and experiences in both roles support and feed what you do.”
Robin is a retired GP who has been a Reader and churchwarden at St Modwen’s Church, Burton, for 30 years, where he will now become a self-supporting curate. He said: “My NHS career finished just before I was 58 and the opportunity to deepen the Christian side of my lifelong ministry came up. The thing I’m most looking forward to is that there’s already a baptism booked for me to do. I’m seeing a great personal fulfilment and development but it’s all really for other people as, I think, most of my medicine and ministry here so far has been.”
Abigail is originally from Kent but has lived in Manchester for the last 11 years. She will leave her employment as a GP in Stockport to serve as curate in central Wolverhampton. “I first thought about ordination when I was really young. When I was about 12 or 13 I thought about being a priest,” she said. “I’ll be really sad to leave general practice - I’ve loved being a GP. But I do feel that God is calling me to something else. I’m really looking forward to moving to Wolverhampton. I’m looking forward to working somewhere that’s so diverse. Being in a church that’s right in the midst of the city is a real gift and I’m excited to get going.”
Other new deacons have backgrounds in careers including teaching, farming, the Royal Mail, theatre and management.
This year’s healthy intake of curates follows the ordination of 22 new curates in 2017, all of whom went on to be ordained as priests at services across the Diocese in the past week.
Diocesan Director of Vocations Dr Lindsey Hall said: “It’s a really exciting time to be thinking about all the ways in which God calls people to serve in their communities, workplaces and also in the Church. As the Church changes, ministry is also changing and we are excited by people’s vision for creative, missional leadership to share the Good News of Jesus in today’s culture and context. If you’ve been thinking that God may be calling you to share God’s love in a new way please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org”
A full list of those who are being ordained - and ordination service booklets with details on each person - are available here.