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An actor, a former “militant atheist”, and a former employee of a travelling circus troupe are just three of the 22 men and women who were ordained at Chester Cathedral on Sunday 30 June.

Prior to following a call to ordination, Steve Murphy, a trained actor, appeared in films such as Children of Men and TV shows Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks – his most recent appearance was in BBC1’s In The Club.

For Josie Tuplin, her journey to faith and ordination has been long and testing, describing herself in the past as a “militant atheist”.

The Revd Steph Morris

The Revd Steph Morris followed her dream of travelling the UK with the Chinese State Circus before she found herself following God’s call to serve people closer to home.

Steph says: “I dreamed of the circus lifestyle; travelling the UK and beyond. I was quite shy at that point in my life and going to the circus brought out my personality. I met some interesting people during my time wading around muddy circus fields!”

After returning home, Steph settled in Cheshire and started a family. As a regular churchgoer, she found herself taking on greater responsibilities in church, until one day, she couldn’t ignore the call to the priesthood any longer.

Following her ordination, Steph will continue her training in the parishes of Bosley, Sutton, Wildboarclough, and Wincle, on the outskirts of Macclesfield.

She says she hopes to use her ministry to work with children and young people and strengthen relationships between her church and local primary school.

For more photos of the day see our Facebook gallery

The Revd Josie Tuplin

The Revd Josie Tuplin was ordained on Sunday and will complete her curacy at Woodchurch on the Wirral. She describes her former self as a “militant atheist”.

She says: “If I think back, I almost can’t believe where I am today in relation to that. I went off the rails quite badly; I lost something of myself.

“I was quite a militant atheist. I believed that religion was for children, or for people who weren’t that bright, stupid or needy. I was smug and arrogant and deluded. The irony is, I had no control of my life; I was a mess.”

A turning point came at her aunt’s funeral. A committed Christian, her aunt had requested that there be no eulogy, but asked that her Vicar simply declare that she had worshipped for 90 years and “died in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.”

Josie says: “That was it for me, I thought, ‘if it’s good enough for her, then it’s good enough for me.’”

She says of herself at that time: “I hurt people quite a lot, and I wasn’t able to help myself.”

Despite this, Josie’s faith journey began in earnest following her aunt’s funeral. Shortly after she met her husband, an academic, with whom she will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in September.

She says: “My husband is a strong person, someone who I couldn’t harm and didn’t want to harm. That was a turning point. As soon as I turned that corner, I knew that God was calling me back to be with him.”

Josie has worshipped in the parish of Oxton St Saviour on the Wirral for 38 years. Following her ordination, she will leave the parish to complete her training in the neighbouring parish of Woodchurch.  

For more photos of the day see our Facebook gallery

The Revd Steve Murphy

The Revd Steve Murphy, a trained actor with a host of acting credits to his name, was also ordained on Sunday but has battled doubt in his own motivations and faith along the way.  

His mum was ill for a long time before she died when Steve was in his early 20s. He’d helped to care for her through her illness and says that he became very angry with God.

“She had MS; it’s such a thief of an illness. I had difficulty coping and when I was in my early 20s, I gradually drifted away from Christian things.”

Despite attending church as a child and a teenager, Steve says he spent 20 years away from God: “I turned my back on God and withdrew from any form of connection with church,” Steve says. “The thing that sticks out from that time is that when you do move away from God, you need to be clear about who’s moved: it’s not God.”

It took a lot of time for Steve to be convinced of where God was calling him. For many years he “dodged” the call dismissing it as something “holy people do.”

He says: “I thought that was what people who are wiser, cleverer, more spiritual and faithful do. I’ve had to learn that doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; questioning and doubt are part of our faith journey.

“I’ve also come to terms with the fact that God calls us for who we are not who we think we should be”.

Steve hopes to use his own life experiences in his ministry to better understand other people’s experience of God.

Steve will complete his curacy in the parish of Prestbury as a Self-Supporting Minister and will continue to work in communications for Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

For more photos of the day see our Facebook gallery

 



Is God calling you?

There are a number of roles in the Church. Could God be calling you to one of them? 

For an informal conversation and to discuss where God may be calling you, contact the Ministry Team.

 


Page last updated: 2nd Jul 2019 10:48 AM