This is the election statement I submitted which gives a little background about me and what I hope to bring to General Synod…
I have been a Vicar in Nuneaton deanery for almost 7 years, and Dean of Women’s Ministry for 6. During my curacy, I served at four very different churches in Coventry diocese: a civic church, a daughter church seeking new vision, a rural church in extended vacancy and a growing suburban church with church plant.
I am delighted to be part of the Growing Faith strategy group and Nuneaton Deanery Growing Faith cluster which aims to enable churches, schools and families to work together to support faith development in both children and the adults around them.
I am also privileged to be part of the Race Equality Steering Group and was a facilitator-participant in the recent Amazing Grace Learning Community.
Since 2019, I have been the Chair of the National Association of Diocesan Advisers in Women’s Ministry seeking to support women, dioceses and the national church in making the Church of England a place where women in ordained ministry can flourish.
Prior to ordination, I was a doctor in the NHS with particular interest in psychiatry, palliative medicine and public health.
- Mission. I long to see people’s lives transformed by an encounter with Jesus and an experience of God’s indescribable love. I would love the church to grow after years of decline. But I think we also need to prayerfully discern what KIND of church we are called to grow. I am excited by the emerging National Strategy for a Christ-shaped, Christ-centered, simpler, humbler, bolder church, and would love to be involved in its further development.
- Diversity. I believe it is a Gospel imperative that the church should include all irrespective of gender, race, sexuality, disability, class or age. This is not simply about justice – essential as that is – but about being the church of Christ. Without one another we are an impoverished church. Together we can enrich one another’s understanding of God and experience of faith.
- Growing Faith. For most Christians, faith begins in childhood, and in my experience, children can be the most insightful theologians! Therefore, I am passionate about encouraging children, young people, their school communities and their families to explore faith. I am a school governor and have links with four other local schools in my community and find this to be rewarding and rich ministry.
- A Broad Church. My ministerial experience, as well as my own faith journey, mean that I have a deep love for the breadth of the Church of England. I am deeply committed to parish ministry in all its forms but think we can also be creative and innovative engaging with non-geographical community. I think it is vital that we remember that the Church of England is more than parishes and worshipping communities, but includes church schools, chaplaincy and cathedral ministry.
Issues in General Synod in the next Quinquennium:
The keys issues for the next General Synod will include:
- Living in Love and Faith (LLF)
- Diversity generally, with an especial focus on race and disability
- The National Church Vision for the 2020s
- Clergy wellbeing, including CDM reform
- The Climate Crisis
What can I offer to these conversations?
Currently, I combine my everyday calling as a parish priest with a strategic role both in the diocese and the national church. I believe this combined perspective of vital on-the-ground ministry and strategic experience would be useful in serving you on General Synod.
In terms of LLF, I am committed to honoring the work of all those involved in producing the materials and the people who participate in the course, listening carefully to what emerges and working with others to discern a way forward for the church. I think it is important to be transparent about my own engagement with this subject. During my early adulthood, I held conservative views on sexuality and relationships, however, over several years of prayerful engagement with God, scripture, theology and stories entrusted to me by friends, I am now personally affirming of loving, faithful same sex partnerships. I hope that my experience of both points of view would enable me to contribute thoughtfully and well in the ongoing conversations.
My role as Dean of Women’s Ministry and Chair of NADAWM means that I have experience in advocating for the support and wellbeing of clergy. My passion for diversity and experience working to improve the church’s awareness and practice around gender, race and age would be relevant in the national conversation. My interest in diversity has made me sensitive to the dynamics of power, which is a key aspect to be addressed in building healthy safeguarding culture.
I am grateful to my clergy colleagues for trusting me to represent them at General Synod and would value your prayers as I try to do my very best for them, our diocese and the wider church.