Andy Heber: My road to Ministry
I joined St. Bridget’s Church in January 1990, shortly after moving into my new house just around the corner in Bligh Street Wavertree, having begun work in Liverpool as a Diocesan Social Worker in the South Liverpool Deanery. I spent 8 happy years at St. Bridget’s, making some great friends, meeting with God and constantly being inspired by Bill Sanders’ ministry and example, before leaving in September 1997 and moving to Bristol to begin my training for ordination.
My call to ministry was a gradual one. I was extremely happy in my job as a social worker but working for the church I increasingly got drawn into its structures and saw at first hand the work and demands of ordained ministry. I was also aware of some of the limitations in my role as a social worker and that I was unable to minister to people on a spiritual level (for example social work skills could do little about the guilt that many people felt, whereas prayer and forgiveness could!) Having been in my role for a number of years, increasingly a number of people suggested to me that I should consider the ordained ministry and push some doors but as I was much more of a pastor than a leader and upfront person at that time I was reluctant. However God kept nagging away at me and eventually I entered the process and the doors kept opening until I was recommended by ABM for training and eventually ordination.
We spent 2 very happy and fulfilling years at Trinity College between September 1997 and May 1999 before returning to Liverpool Diocese where I served my curacy at St. Peter’s Parr, in St. Helens where Rev David Thompson proved to be a brilliant training Rector who taught me so much. From there I moved in 2003 to Kirkby where I was team vicar of St. Andrew’s Tower Hill but also had responsibility for Pastoral Care within the team ministry in Kirkby.
After 9 mixed years in Kirkby it was time for a new challenge and in May 2012 we moved to County Tyrone in Northern Ireland where for the last 5 years I have been Rector of 3 small village churches: Clogherny, Seskinore and Drumnakilly, near Omagh in the Diocese of Armagh. The contrast to life in Kirkby really couldn’t be any greater and God continues to bless and surprise us here on a daily basis.