In the latest of our profiles we meet Laura Pasterfield, who serves at the parish of Liverpool All Saints.
Laura was one of ten people ordained by Bishop James Jones at Liverpool Cathedral, in his last set of ordinations before he retires as Bishop of Liverpool.
Laura has been a Christian all of her life, but it was taking part in an Alpha course and volunteering on a soup run that made her really think about her vocation.
“I made some good Christian friends who made me realise that if real and compassionate people believed in God, then maybe there was something to it! During the Alpha course I found myself deeply challenged, and by the end I decided that I wanted to commit wholly to my faith. At the end of the course my vicar suggested to me that ordained ministry might be something I should consider, and although I felt overwhelmed and unworthy of the role it planted the seed.”
Laura took up a job as a youth and children's worker in her local church to explore full time church work whilst thinking about ordained ministry and what it might mean to become a vicar – but it was a while before she actually took the step of going forward.
“I realised that if I wanted to seek ordained ministry I would have to be proactive, but I was waiting for something more significant, a sign or obvious 'calling.' I bumped into a vicar that I'd known for a long time. He told me that he was the assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands and that if I was interested in becoming a vicar I could come and speak to him about it. However, I was reluctant to do that as I was 'waiting for the call,' so I kindly declined his offer.
“The following week I saw him again, and he repeated his offer. I did nothing. Then a few weeks later I bumped into him and this time, he told me that sometimes we must wait on God and sometimes He requires us to take the first step. So that was it - I decided to go forward. We agreed that if I got through each stage, that I could trust that it was right thing - so I learnt that the process was actually part of my calling.”
Laura is looking forward to starting at All Saints church - which she found out about on the BBC website.
“I was looking at the news and read the headline 'Council sells houses for a pound.' The article was about the Council's plan to seek out buyers who would commit to renovating the houses and living there for at least five years. I thought that it sounded like a very exciting opportunity – a chance to build community. Out of interest, I looked for the local church and I was and I was amazed to find that All Saints was looking for a curate! It was everything I had been looking for; a church that was committed to mission, that was willing to try new forms of church and that was open to taking risks. I can’t wait to get to know the people of Kensington.”
Laura has a passion for social action and working with people on the fringes. She said: “I enjoy building relationships with those in the local community, particularly in places where community is not flourishing. I think that Christians have something unique, counter-cultural and hopeful to offer. I hope to learn how to build loving, interdependent communities which model the body of Christ, particularly in environments where people do not go to church. I think this has to be begin with where we are physically located. Listening to our neighbours and discerning what their particular needs are is the starting point. Then the process of imagining how that can be achieved can begin.”