God said “one day it could be you” – I couldn’t ignore that call forever

As someone who first felt the call to ministry at the age of 16 it is hardly surprising that Revd Dr Alastair Prince has a passion for nurturing young vocations. We spoke to him about his journey and how he felt called

“I remember going to Brandon Cathedral “, Alastair recalls “it was for the Chrism mass and at the time I was about to be confirmed. I remember seeing the renewal of vows and thinking one day that could be me.”

Like many Alastair dismissed this initial calling feeling he needed more experience and on completing his first degree went into the family landscape gardening business. “I didn’t feel I was ready, didn’t think I was the right type of person so I looked at other things”

But it was a call the he couldn’t ignore and was one that came to be recognised amongst others. “When I had six separate people come and suggest ordination to me I felt this was something I couldn’t ignore. These six people had not been speaking to each other – I was the only common denominator between them. So there was a strong feeling that God was in that”

Alastair still felt his was fighting his nature “I don’t feel I had a great deal of self-confidence but I couldn’t ignore.” And it seems God was ahead of him for his vicar was expecting the call. “it all happened very quickly and I think Dad was slightly disappointed as he hoped I would inherit the business. But he was pragmatic and supported me in my journey”.

The selection process was daunting at times. But Alastair remembers a sense of elation at being selected and settled down to training at Westcott House. “It felt right there but it was a massive experience. You apply yourself and hope it is enough. It was draining but it taught me how to work and apply myself for God.” 

Ordination in the summer of 2006 brought some sense of fulfilment. A harking back to the experience of hearing the vows at the Chrism mass and knowing that despite the many and daunting challenges that lay ahead there was a sense of peace, and later a sense that presiding and living out the ministry felt natural and just right.

That’s the feeling that Alastair wants to inspire in others. It was this that drew him to work for the DDO and what inspired his sense of trying to encourage that vocation in others – particularly young people.

“it’s about preparing people for the rigours of assessment and the rigours the role.” Alastair says of his role “all Christians need to be trying to develop the sense of discernment and idea that we can spot God’s call in others. I think back to the six who nudged me in the right direction. I don’t want to set people up to fail but to help others recognise the gifts God has given and the call he places on our lives. We are after all humans trying to work out the will of God and that’s an enormous pleasure and privilege. “

"We are after all humans trying to work out the will of God and that’s an enormous pleasure and privilege“

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St Oswalds Netherton
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