Jimmy Lawrence, 26, Currently working as Pastoral Associate at Coventry Cathedral. He will be placed at Wrangthorn during his training with SBTC. My job involves working with anyone in the Cathedral who is under the age of 30. It’s a great job; every day is different. I get to do everything from preaching at services, to meeting up with students one-on-one, to event planning, to singing Choral Evensong.
The Cathedral is one of the most eclectic places I have ever worked in. We have people from every tradition and background you can think of; black, white, rich, poor, ex-drug addicts, lawyers, charismatic's, Catholics, those who like smells and bells and those who prefer ‘happy clappy’. It’s a melting pot for ideas and a great place for exploring faith and life; you are bound to come across a new point of view! Prior to working for Coventry Cathedral I studied Music at Leeds University before becoming an intern at St. George’s for two years, where I worked primarily with students and youth.
"I was 10 years old and struggling with being bullied at school. I asked God if he would be my friend and felt him say ‘yes’."
I became a Christian on a field in North Norfolk. It was a late summer evening and I was there on a Christian Camp. The camp is one of the oldest in Britain, based on pre-war scout camps. I was 10 years old and struggling with being bullied at school. I asked God if he would be my friend and felt him say ‘yes’. My simple childlike faith was boosted by a miracle in the following September. I started a new year and found some friends!
"I have always had the childlike foundation of knowing that God cares about the personal, little and seemingly insignificant things of our lives"
Over the past 16 years since I first made that decision, my faith has had it’s ups and downs. I’ve spent time being angry and rebellious. I've tried to ignore God and walk away from him. However, slowly and surely, God has pursued me, and our friendship has grown, developed and deepened. No matter how theological or complicated things have got over the years, one thing has stayed the same. I have always had the childlike foundation of knowing that God cares about the personal, little and seemingly insignificant things of our lives that I'd be too embarrassed to talk to anyone else about. I have visited that field in North Norfolk almost every summer since and it is a very special place for me.
I’m coming to Leeds this September to start training as a Vicar through St Barnabas Theological College. I will also be working at Wrangthorn Church for my placement as an ordinand.
I don’t know what I’m going to be doing yet, but I’m looking forward to the mixture of theological training at St. Barnabas and missional outreach at Wrangthorn.
"I am passionate about seeing vibrant communities engage and transform the world around them. I love seeing the historic traditional church communicated in a way that modern non Christians can understand and engage with."
As a student at Leeds University I used to live in Hyde Park and walk past Wrangthorn every day. I remember thinking what a fantastic opportunity for God's Kingdom it would be to run a church right in the heart of the student community. I am passionate about seeing vibrant communities engage and transform the world around them. I love seeing the historic traditional church communicated in a way that modern non-Christians can understand and engage with. I'm expecting the next three years to be challenging, exciting, interesting, tough, and a lot of fun! I expect to learn a lot and be stretched to think in new ways.
"Consistent prayer has become something I have grown to love and need."
In some ways this reminds me of my first week as an intern at St. George's 4 years ago. I was faced with a steep learning curve as I had difficulty operating at the same speed as the rest of the team. I was passionate and determined but completely out of my depth. I remember being amazed by how much praying the team did during the week. At one point I found myself thinking "I've spent more time today with my eyes closed than open!" This was my introduction to the spiritual discipline of prayer and being part of a worshiping community of faithful prayers. Consistent prayer has become something I have grown to love and need.
4 years on, I'm a bit older and hopefully more prepared, but I'm still anticipating more of that stretching and I'm excited about throwing myself in at the deep end! I have always found St. George's to be a stimulating and formative place.
Please pray for me as I get ready to start the course and work for Wrangthorn. I'm going on retreat for the last week of August, but between now and then I will be finishing my work at Coventry Cathedral and enjoying a holiday. If you could particularly pray for good rest, and time with God, I would appreciate that.
Visit stbarnabastraining.org or find resources in the Church foyer, for more information on SBTC.