4:39 PM, Oct 14 2020
Rachael Phillips: Your new Ordinand
It’s been lovely meeting many of you across all three churches over the last couple of weeks. I thought I’d share a bit about me so you can get to know me better. I’m 34 years old and was born and raised in Darlington. I was actually baptised in All Saints and came to Play School, Sunday School and Tumble Tots here. I was a Rainbow and Brownie over at Salutation church but then had a rather long gap in my faith life until I was 26 and serving in the Army in Afghanistan. It was there, in 2012 when I properly became a Christian and my life changed forever.
When I returned to the UK I wanted to be Confirmed, and it was during this service that I first felt called to serve as a vicar. This revelation, much like the night of my conversion, came as a scary and complete shock. But I felt I had to pursue it to test if it was real, or just me being excited and emotional about my Confirmation! I decided to leave my career in the army and after studying theology at Durham for a short while I got a job working for Durham Diocese. I ran a project which supported churches in discovering what generosity means as a Christian. I then had a role in helping churches with evangelism and their online presence; websites, Facebook and A Church Near You.
Both of these roles exposed me to the extraordinary breadth of the Church of England and I met quite the spectrum of lay people and clergy, attended dozens and dozens of PCC meetings, and preached nearly a hundred sermons. God well and truly addressed the issue of me being such a new and clueless Christian! I’ve no doubt that these seriously challenging Diocesan roles were to plug the gaps in my experience and help shape me for my future ministry.
I’m married to Dickie, who also served in the Army. We first met in Afghanistan on my first operational tour there. We’ve got a two-year-old daughter Elizabeth, whom I hope to start bringing to church soon. She has a surprisingly natural and enthusiastic faith and it’s been a real shame that she’s missed out on church during lockdown.
I’m a keen CrossFit athlete (a gym-based sport which incorporates many different disciplines including weightlifting, running, and gymnastics… I will gladly bore you all day long about CrossFit, you only have to ask). I also like running, and until I began my ordination training, I played for DMP Durham Sharks, a rugby team based here in Darlington. I love hiking and generally being outdoors. I’m keen on pilgrimage too and have done two stretches of the Camino de Santiago. I’m a novice birdwatcher and I like pottering around in the garden. I love cooking and feeding people.
I’m passionate about the environment and try to take small steps to reduce my impact upon it. I’m also interested in how we as The Church might do more to protect the environment, which has led me to start exploring “Forest Churches” and “Eco Churches”. Let me know if this floats your boat too! I’d love to learn more about this stuff with someone.
For me the most important message of the Christian faith is that no matter who we are or what we’ve done or failed to do, we’re loved completely and equally by God. We’ve done nothing to deserve this love, all we can do is be grateful, and try and love God and each other as much as we can.