I’m Matt and I’m going to be training for ministry in the Church of England! Let me introduce myself. I am a father to two wonderful girls, Amy (7) and Emily (3), husband to a wonderful wife Kath (you’re kidding no numbers here!) and a senior paramedic for the North West Ambulance Service.
I suppose my journey started at about 11 years old when my Dad took me to a Billy Graham Crusade back in 1984 (there you go, given my age away). Looking back at it now it could have been set in the movies as I walked out under the famous gates stating “You’ll never walk alone”.
Far from being a successful struggle you see in the movies, however, the next 30 years I embarked on a rollercoaster of ups and downs, as do we all. I was diagnosed at school with dyslexia and I remember when discussing future careers my advisor, teachers and parents suggested that academic prospects were beyond my limitations and I should head for a trade.
To be honest it didn’t seem as gracious as that, it was more a case of coming to the realisation that when I mentioned going to sixth form everyone developed uncontrollable laughter! Over my career I have been an aircraft engineer, customer services advisor, arrears counsellor, financial advisor (in the bad old days), ambulance technician, and paramedic, culminating in my current role as a senior paramedic. A bizarre career, I know, but looking back at it God clearly had his hand in my development, both in life skills and achieving any kind of academic prospects.
I wouldn’t say I had any academic skills really, but over the years I’ve been moulded into a square peg that is to be driven, and driven, into that round hole that is ordained ministry. I can only imagine all the edges that are going to be knocked off over the next three years! More recently this epic change in vocation came from actually listening for a change. I’d been regularly reading my Bible, getting to grips with my prayer life, but it was only when I gave God some time to talk back that a literal millstone was removed from me.