Laine’s story: God’s calling through sorrow

Published: Tuesday June 18, 2024

A picture of Laine LewisIt was a moving moment at a child’s funeral which convinced Laine Lewis to explore ordained ministry.

When Laine gave birth to her second child, Malachi in 2013, he suffered a brain injury at six weeks old and he was left with severe disabilities. This had a big impact on Laine’s beliefs. She struggled to pray, but she was able to feel the power of her church community around her and let others pray for her.

Malachi opened her eyes forever to a widened perspective on faith.

She reflected: “I learnt you can rely on God during the challenges. He doesn’t promise you a problem-free life, he promises to be with you through life.”

She met other families with disabled children and through these friendships became poignantly aware of the fragility of life. When Malachi was just a toddler, one of his friends died.

“The funeral really affected me,” Laine said. “Due to my son’s disabilities, we have devastatingly almost lost him a few times, so I felt really empathetic.

“But I noticed that, despite such horrendous circumstances, the vicar was incredible. He was doing an amazing job. I was thinking ‘how is he being so positive and talking to people in such a healing way in this situation?’. At that moment, I experienced God speaking to me. I was looking down at the funeral as well as being in the church. I felt God speak, he was saying to me ‘you can do this, you should do this’. After the funeral, I prayed about it, and I sought advice from my vicar. I never anticipated before this point that I might be ordained, but I decided to explore it.”

Laine sought out vocation guidance from the diocesan team, initially considering chaplaincy for children with severe needs. She spoke with more people and joined vocation groups, exploring different roles. It became clear to her that she should become a priest.

“God was calling me much wider than chaplaincy, and here I am. I knocked on the door and it opened really wide and now I’m being ordained. It’s the next step on my journey that started at university, when I said yes to God.”

A pivotal point in Laine’s faith came years before Malachi’s birth when she was a student.

She recalled: “In my first year of university I lived a dual life. I was involved in the Christian Union and I went to church on Sundays, but I was also doing secular things. My faith was never in question but it wasn’t my top priority.

“Near the end of my first year, I felt God saying to me ‘are you in or are you out, you can’t do both’. There’s a revelation to one of the churches, where God asks ‘are you hot or are you cold? You can’t be lukewarm’. That was the moment I decided to go fully in and I made the choice for me. I submitted to God’s control.”

From there, Laine started getting involved in ministry at university. She spent two years as a youth assistant at a church in Cardiff after graduating, before completing a degree in youth work and applied theology.

She did youth work at different churches for the next decade, before moving to Gloucester and getting involved with St Andrew’s Church. She started working with families, naturally spending more time working with parents and guardians.

” My time doing youth work was extremely rewarding. God led me to start working with families. There, I learnt that just working with children doesn’t work in many situations, families need to be integrated.

“God doesn’t separate people, we are all His children.”

Laine has now completed her ordination training at Trinity College Bristol, and her placement finished at the end of May this year.

She said: “My friends and family have been so supportive throughout the whole process, and a lot of them are coming to the ordinations. I love flamingos, and one of my closest friends gave me a metal flamingo which says ‘never forget how Flamazing you are’. I kept this on my ID badge throughout my training.

“My husband Mike has also been incredible, carrying the family when I’ve been spending hours studying and writing essays. I wouldn’t be getting ordained and passing my course without him. We see my ordination as a family accomplishment, that we are on this journey together.”

Laine will be serving at St Lawrence, Barnwood where she lives with her husband and two sons, Korsten, 16, and Malachi, now 10.

The word Leadership spelt out, with Committed to Transformation written underneath.

 

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