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Convocation stories affirm the call to ministry

Rev Peter Armstrong - captured by Jesus
Four ministers briefly shared their call to ministry with the Convocation of Ministries held prior to the 25th Synod of the Uniting Church in Queensland. .

Minister of the Word Rev Peter Armstrong described his call as fragments of colour which first came at the end of a gravel track via Roma when a ute full of young people came from Toowoomba to encourage young Christian kids in an western community.

Mr Armstrong described his journey a youth leader, teacher, Crossroads worker, and finally as a candidate for ministry in the church when he ran out of excuses.

"I have been captured by Jesus and the call of the Uniting Church to preach Christ the risen and crucified one and acknowledge him as Lord," he said.

"I am beginning to see the seeds of hope and pray that they might fall on the good soil. I will run this race as fast and hard as I can relying only on the grace of God."

Hospital Chaplain Revd Lorna Skilton described her call as a vocation and her ministry as serving.

"Ministry has been a winding pathway and a bit of a tapestry but it’s not finished and I’m a work in progress," she said.

She described how a large part of her journey had been the ecumenical experience and the challenges of working together in an ecumenical hospital chaplaincy and working across the different traditions that work in the church space.

"When we have a common goal and agreed practise we are able to be hospitable and open and the Uniting Church is an expressions of this experience," she said.

Describing her ministry as a pleasure and joy, Ms Skilton faces retirement as a minister of the church assured that God keeps "recycling us".

Youth Worker Tom Kerr reflected in his 26 years as a minister of the church with an invitation to remember the faces of those we are drawn to in the name of Christ and who call up a sense of love within us.

As a 14 year old Mr Kerr experienced the ecstasy of faith and fell in love with God and after hating his experience as a school teacher found the invitation to train as a youth worker.

Mr Kerr believes he was "saved" again by Jesus when he was brought into a place where he was called to do what he loves and even got paid for it.

He wouldn’t be happy doing anything else and even if he won Lotto Mr Kerr would still keep doing what he is doing because he likes it.

"I would want to serve God and be on about this ministry job," he said as he described the joy of having people see some part of Jesus in him.

Minister of the Word Rev Heather Griffin described her call as anything but a "burning bush" experience but a number of unrelated events which, while individually not a call, together added up to something significant.

She described the desolation time where she couldn’t even pray and sensed God saying to her "Heather, you don’t have to pray I’m holding you".

Ms Griffin took up theological studies later in life as a hobby which she describes as a "dangerous activity".

When faced with the demands of her professional career she realised that her real passion was people and theology and found the church affirming the culmination of a lifetime of experiences which had prepared her for ministry.

Revd Griffin’s doubts have come through conflict and the struggle "with the self doubt of wanting to do it all and do it perfectly" but has found the grace of God to be sufficient.

Photo : Rev Peter Armstrong – captured by Jesus