Get to know Rod and Jan
We moved to Ripon in 2017, when Rod retired from full-time Anglican ministry after a range of posts across the country. Ripon offers a lovely environment within easy reach of our 2 children in Newcastle and Leeds. Jan continues with part time work.
For Rod, after childhood struggles at school, life took on new shape and confidence when faith became personal and meaningful at the age of 16. This living Christian faith was consolidated through a gracious touch of the Spirit, conferences and activities during university years and beyond. Research work on Ageing and Retirement and a strategic planning job in Essex during the late 1970s preceded training for ministry. Having met Jan at university, we married in 1977, with a deep sense of ‘partnership in the gospel’ (extracts from Philippians were read at our wedding).
Training for ordained ministry was based at Ridley Hall in Cambridge, and included a ‘God-incidence’ invitation to spend several months at a Theological College in Grahamstown, South Africa. At that period in South Africa the Anglican Church was being profoundly influenced by both charismatic renewal and a call to maintain a social and prophetic voice as the apartheid system unravelled. This experience was formative for us both as we anticipated ministries that would reflect integrity for spirit-energised local church life with an active Christian social conscience.
Ministry over the next 35 years included both Parish and Diocesan roles. Following a Curacy in Bournemouth (working in a delightful team to refresh and renew suburban estate churches), I was Vicar at Westwood in Coventry, growing the church with congregational church planting initiatives, lay leadership and discipleship developments. Then, a role as Priest in Charge of a rural church in Warwickshire was shared with a half-time post as ‘Director of Parish Development and Evangelism’ in Coventry Diocese.
Following the Coventry years, I was full-time Diocesan Missioner in Durham from 2004, during a period when ‘Mission-Shaped Church’ initiatives were being encouraged. Latterly, I served in Cumbria as Vicar of a multi-parish benefice, seeking to rediscover and apply wisdom from Celtic saints who had evangelised the area initially, for life in the 21st century! In parish roles, together Jan & I oversaw the development and life of small groups, and together devised and ran Marriage Preparation courses regularly. Ministry as Area/Rural Dean in 3 different Dioceses was characterised by encouraging more mutual and collaborative ministries across the local area: at different times this involved working with issues of reconciliation, mission, church development, climate change and the environment.
Through the years we have been thrilled to maintain overseas links. A long summer in 1980 as volunteers teaching English to Palestinian young people on the occupied Palestinian West Bank led to several further visits leading pilgrimage groups to Israel and the area. The visit to South Africa during training Africa in 1982 was the first of numerous visits: sabbatical trips, project work with Johannesburg and Zululand Dioceses, and through Diocesan links with Durham-Lesotho (for which Jan was Chair) and Carlisle-Zululand (through which we shared in leading a recent Clergy Summer School in Zululand on Leadership for Mission).
A very significant ‘pause’ and realignment to life and ministry came about through a near-fatal road accident in 1997 which left me in a severe coma for 3 weeks, hospitalised for 2 months, in rehabilitation for 6 months before a phased return to full life and formal work. Emerging from the coma, I was profoundly aware of the holding presence and protection of God through the incident, the healing prayers of the church, as well as fresh opportunity to re-focus and re-shape life and ministry as the Spirit directed and allowed. This period of considerable struggle was also a time of much blessing.
Integral to my Christian discipleship have been periods of retreat and prayer as ‘wellspring’ times that both focus and energise faith and life. At the turn of the millennium I was prompted to explore the Franciscan way, to which I was professed in 2009 as a member of the Third Order. St. Francis is a great example of personal renewal, that connects a call to adopt and maintain integrated and socially aware lifestyles with being rooted in personal and collective prayer!
Through the years, Jan has been active in various parish ministries and a devoted mother to our children, while quietly developing her own professional interests. From an initial background in school teaching, she has worked in adult education, teacher training, and educational management in the public sector. Currently she works part time as a coach in leadership development, mostly within education, church and health sectors.
We are so grateful to be able to offer support through ReSource to churches and leaders who seek to serve the kingdom, being prompted and equipped by the Holy Spirit for authentic and active church life today.