Twenty-five years ago, a knock on the door from the local priest saw the beginning of Lisa's faith journey. Fast forward to today, she is now the priest in that same church and clergy house where her faith journey began.
I remember looking out of the window and seeing Judith walking up the front path and thinking “I’ll hide behind the sofa, then she’ll go away and not bother trying to ask me again.” My conscience got the better of me and I answered so as not to be rude. Judith invited me to give church a go, I agreed reluctantly and protested that if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t go again.
My husband has always gone to church, but I had been very happy with what I had in life and had never really given faith a thought. I already had everything I needed in life, or so I thought. Growing up, I was what I’d have called a “C and E Christian”, only going to church with school twice a year at Christmas and Easter.
I’d always been frightened by the thought of going to church on my own, but that first service was different. Judith was very good at making me feel welcome. She also understood the pace I wanted and needed to go at in exploring Christianity, and recommended a book for me to read to help me on this journey.
Female clergy have played a really important role in my faith journey, helping me to flourish in roles in church plants, lay and ordained ministry. They pushed me to take on new challenges and explore God’s call for me to ordination. When Judith invited me to church, she was a deacon as women were not able to be priests. She went on to be one of the first women priests in the diocese and I still remember the impact the ordination day had on me – it was magical and wonderful in every way.
The knock on the door has stayed with me throughout my ministry, working in prison and army chaplaincy, and parish ministry. It still gives me the confidence to go out and knock on the doors of my local community. I know what a huge difference it can make.
If I had stayed hidden behind the sofa, things could have been very different. That knock at the door or call from the parish priest might just be the prompt from God that person is seeking. Life in abundance with God is what I say I have now.
As told to Pathways by the Revd Lisa Holmes, Priest in Charlton-on-Otmoor.
Who told you? is our ongoing series of stories from Christians about coming to faith and the people who helped them along the way. Share your story with us.