From Royal Insurance to a her calling to ministry God and faith has been central to Paula's life. In our latest meet our deacon's interview we hear her story.
My career began in the Royal insurance as an accounts clerk for 13 years, after returning to work after the birth of James; I helped out in a local school and became a qualified SEN teachers assistant.
It was through my sons love for music that I became involved with the 468 Afterschool and Community project that had just been established by members of St. Cleopas. A few years later whilst still an SEN assistant; I started attending the church, this was due to my involvement as a volunteer in the After schools project; where I could see something about the leaders and their faith, which, sent me on an ‘inward’ heartfelt search for Jesus who I wanted to know for myself.
I have always believed in God as far back as I can remember into my childhood, My first communion was really important to me and I continued to attend church: but true faith developed as said before when I started attending St. Cleopas Someone far greater was at work within in me other than those encouraging me in my new role. Jesus became part of me, my life, drawing me closer as my hunger to know him increased; I developed a true living relationship with the living God through him. The day I gave my life to him I knew I was to be set apart for him and live my life within God’s calling. During that same year I felt God speaking to me and I gave my life to him. Since that decision my faith has deepened and grown.
I was asked to coordinate the project and later I was offered the post of manager where I still remain today. In this role I have built a wonderful relationship with the people of Toxteth, especially the families of those attending the project. It’s truly brilliant when people know of your faith and ask for prayer, for home visits, hospital visits and just for a listening ear. The project became a ‘bridge’ between the Church, school and Community where I have the privilege of sharing the sorrows as well as the joys of the people here in this community. I feel this is where my pastoral gifts have shown and helped me realise God had bigger plans for me, he had not just called me there but was leading me further in ministry.
I became a Lay Reader in 2006, but continued to sense a call to ordination, I took time to pray and discern this with others. I have a passion for God and for people, to the ministry of the Word and sacrament, Over the last few years I have been on trips to Uganda which ignited a passion for the poor and the church's engagement with the poor developing outreach to all kinds of different groups on the edges of society. Recently I have been on placement with Hope+ working in a local foodbank and I have now started a veggie bank in the 468 allotment.
I feel God has given me a heart for reaching out to people in service and sacrament. The Gospel is so relevant today it needs to be proclaimed afresh each and every day. What excites me? Serving God by answering his call being where he wants me to be, passing on and making known the love of God through Jesus by word and action; seeing lives transformed and changed by the ministry of the Word and sacrament; the cure of souls lies at the heart of my calling.
My work and life is underpinned by a structured and regular pattern of prayer and bible study which is central and most important to me.
What am I looking forward to challenge wise? I feel where I have been called to serve, will have its own special challenges, its own problems, needs and blessings; Ministering and serving in an area growing in multi-ethnicity and high on the government scale of deprivation. There are at present tremendous problems in society: poverty, unemployment and homelessness, and the sense of hopelessness they bring with it. In many areas we witness an increasing number of one-parent families and of broken marriages; an attitude to life based on materialism and a decline in personal and social moral values. It can be very difficult for someone brought up in our society to make any kind of life- long commitment. They need something to bring them wholeness to feel loved and valued and useful, something to bring them truly alive. It is only The Good News of God’s love through Jesus Christ which can bring them life in its fullest meaning.
I need to be ready each and every day knowing its God who directs my day and not just my diary! To direct and point people to Christ crucified and risen - and see people encounter the living Jesus in the Scriptures, in the Sacraments. - be where the Holy Spirit is at work waiting for me to join him.
To start working in my curacy in a priestly role and developing my ministry; to be helping people experience what it means to belong to the Church, to feel accepted, valued: to become living stones part of the body of Christ. I’m looking forward to working alongside the Shared Team Ministry and helping others mature in their faith, helping people mature and grow into future leaders.