I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities and challenges of my deacon year in Shankill Parish. Being part of a well–functioning, friendly and godly team helped me to settle quickly into parish life.
I found the people of Lurgan to be warm and welcoming and am privileged to have been able to walk alongside a number of them.
Keeping up with academic requirements as well as the commitments of parish ministry taught me how to juggle and plan my days well. I’m never very good at saying ‘no’ when asked to take on a particular responsibility, but I had to learn how to do this better, particularly as the deadline for submitting my dissertation approached.
Monthly meetings with Bishop Harold and the four other Down and Dromore deacons were both practical and inspirational. We studied I Kings 15–19 and gained many insights into Elijah’s walk of faith. The bishop also walked us through the Church year, listened to how each parish was approaching Advent, Christmas, Pentecost, Lent, Easter etc., and encouraged us to see how we could effectively engage our congregations as we teach the breadth of Scripture each year.
I loved serving alongside Revd Mark Harvey and his team in Shankill. Mark is a gifted leader with a passion for Scripture and pastoral care. I learned a lot from him on the importance of vision, Biblical values, having an effective strategy, hard work and dependence on God to implement these.
I am looking forward to serving as a curate in Willowfield Parish. I feel excited and a little nervous about all that God has planned to do in and through me there. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him” 2 Corinthians 2:14.
Bishop Harold ordained Karen as Presbyter for the curacy of Willowfield on 8 September 2019.