Lucy Barbour

Lucy’s ordination story: “I was pioneering before I knew the term existed.”

Published: Monday June 5, 2023

Lucy Barbour

We’re looking forward to this year’s ordinations, to be held in Gloucester Cathedral on 25 June.

Over the coming weeks, we will be catching up with some of the people preparing to be ordained as a deacon.

Ordination is the Church’s official recognition of a person’s sense of calling to be a priest or deacon and this first step into ordination will give them the authority to do certain things in the name of God and the Church.

Lucy Barbour, 38, lives in Gotherington and is being ordained as a Designated Pioneer Minister, meaning that her ministry connects with people outside of traditional church settings and helps those she meets to explore the Christian faith.

Where did your journey to pioneer ministry begin?

“From the moment I became a Christian I knew that my faith would significantly shape my choice of work and life. I was brought up in a non-church-going family, but by parents who were community pioneers in their own right. Although I didn’t go to church regularly, my parents were positive about faith and I had friends who were Christians.

“I remember being passionate from a young age about issues of identity and the meaning of life. I enjoyed visiting church with my friends and actively chose to learn about and debate issues on spirituality and meaning. I felt very comfortable in this space and was welcomed and accepted. Having a positive experience of being in the gap between exploration and faith has made me passionate about ministering in this area.”

When did you feel called to become ordained?

“When I was new to faith I was often encouraged to consider ordination but I felt I had too much still to learn and I decided to put any ideas of ordination aside and focus on serving God through work with charities and within my own church.

“I first experienced a strong sense of calling from God in 2017. After having my second child, I felt that I was ready to dedicate myself to God’s work in a way that I had not been able to do before. While I felt very passionately about my faith, I was also troubled by how it could be possible to give so much of myself to a vocation whilst being a mother and wife. At this time, I was praying a lot for God’s reassurance and that I would be given the chance to use my skills and passion.

“I have always felt a strong connection to the Anglican Church, and been keen to serve within it and deepen my understanding of it. It is only with hindsight that my connection to the Anglican Church now appears so rich and has significantly contributed to this journey towards ordination. I found that ordination became a clearer sense of calling as I went through the journey of discernment with the Diocese of Gloucester. While I was not initially going to be a designated pioneer, after visiting the Church Mission Society (CMS) in Oxford, I realised that their pioneer training was ideal for me. The Diocese encouraged me to go Pioneer Panel, and I am delighted that I did.”

Where will you serve once you are ordained?

“I have spent the past three years serving alongside a brilliant team at St Michael and All Angels in Bishop’s Cleeve, and I’m delighted to continue this in a non-stipendiary (unpaid) role after ordination. At St Michael’s, I have been encouraged to explore where God is outside of the worshipping community’s normal understanding of the church.

“For example, during the pandemic, supporting people in their wellness became a significant part of my ministry. This included running mindfulness classes, courses on mental health and taking church services out into nature on a local hill. It is amazing to see how people engage with faith once we step into the spaces that connect with their real lives, the challenges they face, and their passions. I am excited to see where this will lead.”

Lucy will be ordained deacon on Sunday 25 June at 10.15 am in Gloucester Cathedral. She will serve at St Michael and All Angels, Bishop’s Cleeve.


6 thoughts on “Lucy’s ordination story: “I was pioneering before I knew the term existed.”

  1. Wonderful, we are all very proud of you and look forward to supporting you on this journey.

  2. Many congratulations Lucy.

    May God’s blessings remain with you throughout your ministry.

  3. Congratulations Lucy, it has been wonderful to get to know you and experience your wise ministry as we have got to know the St Michael’s church family, including joining in with Church on the Hill which has been extremely special for my journey of faith and understanding of ministry thank you for your pastoral care S I have travelled my recent I’ll-health journey, you family’s compassionate care has been a vibrant example of loving grace in action! Holding you in thoughts snd prayers as you ordination approaches, trusting that your ministry will take you to new places and things with our Heavenly Fatger as He breathes His love into and over your ministry amongst us!

  4. Congratulations Lucy & what a wonderful insight you have to be a Pioneer Minister in your role supporting people in the community in their wellness.
    Having been in Mental Health supporting Clinicians as a Team Secretary for over 9 years. I truly believe running mindfulness classes, courses on mental health and taking church services out into nature on a local hill, will be spiritually beneficial to many Of your community & will be able to connect with their real livelihood.
    I’m so excited for you.

    My blessings from Pauline Morgan
    Pastoral Assistant St Luke’s church
    Tidenham Parish

  5. Congratulations Lucy! It has been so good to see you blossom in this role and to be able to support you as you continue your work with us at St Michaels. So looking forward to what God has in store!

  6. Congratulations Lucy! We are so proud of you and know that you will continue to enrich people’s lives and serve God through your pioneering ministry. May God bless you and guide you in the coming years.

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