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How Alison Anderson was called

This is always an exciting time of year in the diocese as we approach a big moment for many. In just a few days' time, we will be joining 30 individuals and lots of supportive friends and family to celebrate 2024's ordination services.

The weekend of Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June will see Guildford Cathedral play host to hundreds of people cheering on the latest cohort of priests and deacons as they are ordained into the Church of England by the Bishops of Guildford and Dorking.

On the Saturday our 15 new priests will be ordained by the Bishop of Dorking. This is a significant moment for all, but specifically for the Rt Revd Paul Davies as it will be the first ordination service he has attended and presided at since becoming Bishop of Dorking in September last year.

The following day will see the turn of the 15 new deacons as they are ordained by the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, the Bishop of Guildford. This is always a particularly momentous occasion as it sees the candidates officially take on the role as ministers in the Church of England and the title of Reverend.

To celebrate the individual journeys taken to get to this point we will be sharing a series of stories of the soon-to-be Reverends over the next couple of weeks. Today we start with Alison Anderson.

How was Alison called?

In 2018, a friend asked if I had considered being ordained and I just laughed – and yet here we are. God certainly has a sense of humour.

Having come to faith as a teenager, about 15 years ago I started to take things more seriously. A good friend was dying of a brain tumour and accompanying her on her journey was inspiring, sad, hopeful and disappointing, all at once. I felt I had the choice either to give up on God or go deeper.

I discovered pilgrimage, retreats, quiet days and contemplative prayer.  One sunny day, whilst on pilgrimage on St Cuthbert’s way, as I walked alone over the hills from Scotland into England, I felt a peace and a certainty that I should explore doing something more – perhaps become an Occasional Preacher.

After this, I heard about Ordained Local Ministry. Having never previously considered ordination, I now couldn’t get it out of my head and started finding various previously well-known Bible passages resonating strongly with me, such as Jesus calling his disciples to “come and see” (John 1:39). 

Then on a Quiet Day, the leader (who had never met me), asked me, “Have you thought of being ordained?” Feeling that God’s gentle knocking had now turned into a loud banging, I gave in. I talked to my incumbent and others and went through the discernment process.

This was early 2020, and then Covid struck which was a stormy time both personally and professionally, but I discovered that the Light does truly shine in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.

The one thing I would say to someone thinking about exploring vocation, lay or ordained, is to follow your thought process because maybe God really is calling you. Even you! 

I now hope to encourage others to “come and see” and let each and every person know whatever their ethnicity, gender or sexuality, they are deeply loved by God and they have a unique place in His heart.

A significant Bible verse for me is...

In Him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. 

John 1:4-5

Find out more on our ordinations page.

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