I was brought up attending a local Strict Baptist chapel and our lovely neighbours took us along each week. I came to know Jesus as my personal Saviour at the age of just 11 and became heavily involved in life within the church right up until I was in my early thirties. Sadly, I ended up leaving the church when my first marriage fell apart. I moved to Cambridge for work and joined the local Anglican church – this was the start of my Anglican journey. I worshipped regularly but didn’t get involved to any great extent. It was quite nice to be ‘anonymous’.
My second husband and I moved back to Suffolk and some seven years later that marriage also finally come to an end. By then, I really felt that I was absolutely no use to anyone, in particular to God. How could He possibly use someone who had been divorced twice, and had spent about 20 years just wandering in a spiritual wilderness?
In 2013 a dear friend at church persuaded me to go on a Cursillo weekend at Leiston Abbey. It totally transformed my faith, bringing me back to a much closer relationship with Jesus and encouraging me to a life of prayer, study and action. It was wonderful to have the level of support around me that Cursillo offers, and I soon became very involved in the movement. In 2018 I was given the tremendous privilege of being their Lay Director which is usually a three year appointment. I loved every minute of it, but as the third year rolled round I began asking God what it was He wanted me to do next.
I should explain that I also ran my own business and I was going through the process of selling the business to reduce my hours and free up more time for God’s work.
Obviously, that was NOT going to be ordination, as I had a long list of reasons why I didn’t need to be ordained to work for the Lord. Covid came along and my term as Lay Director was extended for another year. During this additional year a lot happened that removed my ‘reasons’ for not looking at ordination and I began to realise that they may just be excuses rather than reasons! Having ‘pushed a few doors’ they all swung open and here I am on the training course!
I am currently on the Auxiliary Ordination Pathway which I am loving. During the course, we spend one evening a fortnight with the Bishops learning about what we are committing to in the vows we will take at our ordination, as well as many other topics. We also attend training modules that feed us with additional knowledge on a range of subjects such as the Old and New Testament, Worship, Preaching, Ethics, Pastoral work and doctrine.
There are seven of us in our cohort, each from a wide range of backgrounds. I am learning so much about the different workings of the Church of England, as my rural parish has always been very ‘low’ church and I had never known anything different. Our cohort works closely to support each other, and we also have fun along the way! I seem to be the one always putting my foot in it and causing amusement for the others, especially as I have so much to learn about being an Anglican! I never would have managed going to Theological college, so this programme really works for me, not least because I still need to work part-time.
Currently our benefice is in vacancy, so I am working with the children in the school next door to one of our churches. We restarted our weekly ‘Open the Book’ sessions and I lead an assembly in the church on a weekly basis for a different key stage each time. We have also started a new Family@Church all age service, which we hold on a monthly basis to build on our school links and I am delighted that some families have come along and joined us. Equally encouraging is that our older congregation members also come, have breakfast and enjoy the service. It really is an all-age service!
One of the big bonuses for me is that I grew up here in the local village and I know so many people here, I attended the local schools and I really do feel an affinity with them.
I hope that I make some difference to my benefice. My prayer is that the Lord will use me to truly serve Him here amongst these wonderful people in our little corner of Suffolk so that many can come to see Jesus for themselves.
Picture: Sarah Lock in Kenya in her role as Trustee of the Doxa Project Charity.