Revd Giselle shares her faith story
My journey to ordination commenced a long time ago. Christ came into my life when I was nine, when my teacher, Mrs Robinson, shared the wonderful relationship she had with Jesus.
Later, at Culcheth Hall School, Ann Lewis, wife of Revd Don Lewis and my RE teacher, picked up the baton. At 16, I shared my understanding with friends that I believed God wanted to use me as a tool to bring others to Christ and help bring about the Kingdom of God.
It wasn’t until 1984, after getting married at St Peter’s Church, and once I had begun to attend St Peter’s, that I began to explore further a sense of calling. During this time I tried to serve God through many different ministries: leading Sunday School; joining the Committee for Mission; becoming a sidesperson; helping Mike Whiting with the youth group, and praying regularly. I still felt I was falling short of what God was calling me to do.
I moved with my husband to Little Bollington in 1991 and had Charlotte and Hannah. Life got busy! We attended St John’s church in High Legh where Revd Michael Cavanagh helped me unpack my sense of calling. I attended Foundations for Ministry through Chester Diocese which led to Reader training, then on to do a Theology degree (2005), and a Masters in Faith and Public Policy (2014).
I was licensed as a Reader in 2003 and was at St John’s until 2010. It was whilst I was at St John’s that I began to realise and understand that my calling was to a priestly ministry. Sadly my former husband left and went to live in America, leaving me solely in charge of my two daughters. It was daunting to say the least, as they were aged 9 and 10. There was deep grief and sadness, so my first exploration of ordination did not work out. There needed to be time for healing and I needed to be there for my children.
It took until 2018 before I was able to revisit ordination, going through a Bishop’s Advisory Panel and successfully being accepted for Ordination training. In the meantime I had been working as a multi-faith mental health chaplain at Wythenshawe Hospital, looking after the Cardiothoracic department and Laureate House, the mental health unit, before going on to work for Greater Manchester Mental Health as a multi-faith mental health chaplain.
It has not been an easy journey to ordination, but no one promised it would be easy. Overcoming the challenges has been where my relationship with God in Christ has deepened. ‘Character building’, as Revd Michael would say. I would reply, ‘how much character do I need?’
So it’s been full circle, coming back to St Peter’s, where I really began to enquire about my calling. Thank you so much for welcoming me back as Curate and for supporting me on the final part of my ordination journey.