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Young women: God’s calling

18/11/2017, 9:30 am - 4:00 pm

  • Cost: Free
  • Begins: 9.30am (for 9.45)
  • Venue:  Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Lane, Cheltenham, GL52 2NX
  • Parking: Large NCP carpark opposite the church
  • Lunch: Provided free
  • Fully accessible
  • Booking: please contact:

Young Women's vocations conference: God's CallingYoung women: God’s calling

Responding with confidence

‘I’m too young! You can’t mean me!’ Have you had that feeling that God is calling you but you think it can’t be true? He doesn’t call people like you. Maybe it’s because you think you’re not clever enough or holy enough? Come and talk about it on 18 November when we are holding a day for young women to come and explore your vocation. It may not be a calling to ordained ministry, but to another type of ministry – this is an opportunity to listen to how God might be leading you. Bishop Rachel of Gloucester will be our key speaker and champion for the day. There will be worship, seminars and a market place to explore different avenues of vocation. Across the day we will look at the biblical questions around female leadership; and address questions and concerns around family life, qualifications and confidence; and begin building networks to provide role models, mentors and peer support.


Workshops and seminars

There is the opportunity to attend two seminars/workshops during the day. You might like to choose which ones you will attend beforehand.

Scripture, led by Revd Dr. Emma Ineson

What does it mean to be a woman responding with confidence to God’s calling, and also wrestling with tricky biblical passages that say it is shameful for a woman to speak in church (1Cor14.35), or that women can’t teach or have authority over men (1Tim2.12)? This seminar will look at what the Bible does (and doesn’t) say about women in leadership, and will help us to think about how to handle our response to God’s call with integrity.

Confidence, led by Rev Dr. Andrea Russell

As admissions tutor for the past five years I have had the privilege of meeting many people who are exploring a vocation as an ordained minister. I am struck by their honesty and vulnerability as they offer themselves to the Church, often after much heart searching. Alongside this I have been a personal tutor to many ordinands and again I am aware of the challenges and joys that ministerial formation brings with it.  In all these conversations

I have become aware of the role of confidence – in regard to vocation itself as well as in the areas of study, preaching and pastoral work. I have seen many students, and especially women, struggle with feelings of unworthiness, academic and personal low self-esteem and a more worrying belief that this is Christian humility.

Drawing on Scripture, tradition, personal experience and an embracing of the richness of the GospeI, I will seek to put forward a more healthy and rich theological approach that is both honest and hopeful.

Finding the perfect fit led by Revd Canon Dr Janet Williams and the Revd Pauline Godfrey

An interactive conversation about the range of different roles in Christian ministry and an opportunity to reflect about which ones might fit you now and in the future.

No woman is an island, led by the Revd Caroline Symcox, the Revd Sarah Todd and the Revd Jo Pestell

Whoever we are, we never begin the journey of listening to God’s call on our lives purely as individuals. We have family and friends around us, we have hopes for future relationships and growth, and we are very aware that starting to explore a sense of God calling us into new directions must impact those relationships. In this seminar, three women talk about their own experiences of sensing God calling them, and what that meant and continues to mean within their lives as part of a network of relationships; and we spend some time thinking about the theology both of vocation and living out our God-given relationships.

Workshop leaders

Andrea Russell

The Revd Dr Andrea Russell has been a tutor at Queen’s Foundation since 2014 and thoroughly enjoys being part of a diverse and creative community. Her journey to ordination was a long one – surfacing first in her early thirties and eventually being ordained some 13 years later! The time in between was rich and varied: a discovery of a passion for theology – studying and teaching; a fulfilling and challenging decade as a lay minister and alongside this her vocation as a mum. She continues to draw on the skills she formed as a solicitor and law lecturer, and she particularly enjoys exploring how Canon Law does not need to be restrictive but could actually be life giving and supportive of Christian discipleship – really! During her studies she discovered Richard Hooker – a sixteenth century Anglican priest who has enriched not just her academic life but also her life as a minister and she shares his wisdom whenever she can – as her students will testify. When she’s not waxing lyrical about Richard Hooker she enjoys going to the cinema, theatre and walking by the canal in Birmingham.


Emma InesonThe Revd Dr Emma Ineson is Principal of Trinity College Bristol. Before that she was Chaplain to the Bishop of Bristol and was previously a member of the Faculty at Trinity College, teaching practical theology and spirituality. Her research interests include leadership, preaching, gender, charismatic theology, linguistics. Emma has also been Chaplain to the Lee Abbey community in Devon. She has been a member of General Synod since 2010 and is a member of the Faith and Order Commission. She is the author of ‘Celebrating Community’ (DLT) and ‘Busy Living: Blessing not Burden’ (Continuum). She is married to Mat who is a vicar, and they have a daughter who is at Birmingham University and a son who is doing his GCSEs. In her spare time she loves love walking their two dogs, cooking and gardening.



Janet Williams

The Revd Dr Janet Williams  started out with a strong feeling that God had called her to be a ‘worker priest’ – to combine her vocation to priesthood with her secular calling as an educator. After training at the West of England Ministry Training Course (WEMTC), she was ordained to a curacy in Cirencester, where the people of the parish very generously supported her calling to minister in the workplace rather than primarily in the congregation. God’s sense of holy humour drew her into a new post at the end of curacy, as a theological educator; she returned to WEMTC as Dean of the course, which is the Gloucester-and-Hereford-based member of the family of training courses centred on Ripon College Cuddesdon, near Oxford, where she is responsible for the formation and training of people called to ordained and lay ministries, to formal and informal ministries, to traditional and emerging ministries. It’s enormous fun, as well as a weighty responsibility, to be a part of so many people’s amazing journeys. When she gets to put her ‘teacher’ hat back on, she’s happiest teaching early church spirituality, doctrine and the mystical tradition; and interfaith theology.

pauline godfrey

The Revd Pauline Godfrey is Discipleship and Vocations Officer for Gloucester Diocese helping individuals and churches to discover who and what God is calling them to be and do. Pauline was ordained deacon 25 years ago this year when she was a young mum and then ordained priest when women were first able to.  She has worked in rural parish ministry and in training for most of her ministry and is passionate about helping people to find out how to live their whole lives as Christian disciples.  Pauline loves reading, making music and walking and has an elderly border terrier who accompanies her sometimes.




Sarah Todd

The Revd Sarah Todd is a priest in the Church of England and has been serving as curate at St Barnabas in Gloucester since 2016.  Before ordination, she was a worship leader and Director of Music working in the local church.  She has mentored and supported many young worship leaders and musicians and led team workshops in churches for all ages on worship, church music and vocal technique. She also worked as a choir director and music teacher in schools and in the community. Sarah is happily married to the wonderful and very patient Ian; they have four children between the ages of 11 and 22.   She enjoys cake and being an ENFP.




Jo Pestell

The Revd Jo Pestell is a priest in the Church of England, and has been working as a pioneer curate in South Cheltenham since June 2016. She started life as a mathematician and worked in the defence industry for 7 years before running a national charity for profoundly Deaf people. She then worked in theological education for 9 years before hopping over the fence and becoming a student training for ordination. Jo is happily single, loves being an auntie and generally getting up to mischief.





Caroline Symcox

The Revd Caroline Symcox is a priest in the Church of England, and has been a Team Vicar in the South Cotswolds Team Ministry for the past three years. Before starting her training for ordination, Caroline worked within the publishing industry, working with academic journals, having emerged from a number of years of studying post-graduate theology. As well as being engaged in full time church ministry, she is an author both of fiction and non-fiction, including DLT’s The Vicar’s FAQ, and mum to 4 year old Thomas.



Our vocations stories

Leading up to this vocations day, we’ll be travelling around the Diocese to meet people and find out why they got ordained. Videos will be added below:

For more Vocations information, please see our Vocations page →

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9:30 am - 4:00 pm
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Holy Trinity, Cheltenham
Portland Street
Cheltenham, GL52 2NX United Kingdom
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01242 808780

"I have come that they may have LIFE, and have it to the full." ~ John 10:10