We meet Ashley Benson who is serving at St George's, Everton. Ashley is originally from Woking, Surrey and was a Children's Pastor before God called her to ministry.
Q. What is your background? Previous jobs/life experiences before your calling?
I was born and bred in Woking, Surrey. Have one older sister called Holly. Went to the local village church with my mum and dad until I went off to uni in Exeter. Got a BA Hons in Childhood and Youth Studies then came back to work at Christ Church, Woking (CCW) as the Children's Pastor.
Q. What called you into ministry? What excited you, what challenged you?
God! It was first suggested to me by the vicar of CCW, then others also asked if I'd thought about it. I was pretty reluctant - I didn't particularly want to get ordained, it wasn't part of the plan I had for my life. Over time, through prayer, Holy Spirit prompting and conversations with others, it became clear to me that God was asking me to go for it. I fought with Him about it for quite a while but eventually came to a place of surrender and submission. I figured even though I didn't know what it was going to look like, and even though it was daunting, Jesus knew what He was doing! I was excited by the thought of being part of the Church of England and all that God could do through me as an ordained person. I was challenged by the thought of being part of the Church of England and all that God could do through me as an ordained person!
Q. Is there a particular aspect of ministry that you are most passionate about and why?
I'm passionate about children and young people, and therefore also working with parents and families. Kids bring so much joy and life wherever they are, often without even realising it. And Jesus highlighted how important they are to Him and the Kingdom. I long to see the love, truth, hope and transformation that Jesus brings present in families, and being shared by children and young people.
Q. What parish will you be serving in? What opportunities and experiences are you looking forward to?
St George's, Everton. I'm looking forward to getting to know the people, learning from them and working with them to bring more of God's reconciling and redeeming Kingdom into Everton.
Q. What are your hopes for the future?
To see lives and society transformed by faithful obedience to Jesus and the Gospel.
Q. Any other info you would like to add...
I really like salt and vinegar squares... and Africa.