(Rick is a Methodist Minister of the Bramhope, Timble, Pool and Norwood Methodist Churches in the Wharfedale and Aireborough Methodist Circuit)
I’m one of those very fortunate people who was not only brought up as a Christian, but also brought up as a Methodist.
One if my earliest memories is of sitting with my mum in what then seemed to be the huge pews at Poulton Le Fylde Methodist Church and thinking what a nice man the Minister (not Presbyter in those days), Rev John Harris, was!
A second memory comes from around the time I was nine and the Minister, then Rev J. Gordon Sutcliffe, asked us all what we wanted to be when we grew up! I decided I’d quite like to be a Minister because they only work one day a week, little knowing that was what I’d become!
My time in the Sunday School and Youth Group gave me a good grounding in the Bible, but I never really came to understand that Christianity was about a personal relationship with Jesus.
That changed aged 21 when I went with a church youth group to the Hollybush Christian Fellowship Youth Camp in the Yorkshire a Dales. At the Saturday evening service the speaker was Roy Crowne and he spoke of the love of Jesus and of the personal relationship he wants us all to have with him.
When the altar call same I was one of the first to stand up! John Wesley wrote that his heart was “strangely warmed”. I felt more like my heart had been courteously dynamited with the love of Jesus and I gave my life to him!
Interestingly, prior to what I still think of as my “conversion experience”, I had already felt that God might be calling me to full time ordained ministry, but had pushed it to one side. Interesting that God first called me before I gave my life to him.
After Hollybush I started to read Christian literature voraciously. The books I was reading were largely from the evangelical end of the theological spectrum, books by God inspired men like David Watson, David Wilkerson and Michael Green.
Together with Bible study they helped to build the foundations of my Christian faith.
My marriage to Susan and the birth of our daughter Alice a few years later distracted me for a while from a growing conviction that God was calling me to become a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church.
I knew, in truth, that it was just the first step of a call to ordained ministry, and that was a step too far for me. So, I busied myself with other church roles, becoming a Sunday School Teacher and Church Steward.
Eventually I came to realise that these were things I was doing to avoid God’s clear call on my life, and that if I really meant the words of the Covenant Prayer then I’d better stop denying God’s call on my life and, instead, embrace it.
I offered to go ‘on note’ as a Local Preacher and soon found myself ‘on trial’ and deep in the Faith & Worship course, which I loved because it opened me up to a much wider range of theological perspectives.
Very soon my Local Preacher Tutor was challenging me about a call to ordained ministry and after several confirmations from God I offered myself as a candidate for ore-ordination training and was accepted by the Methodist Church in 2010.
I was fortunate enough to experience two wonderful years theological training and formation at Wesley Study Centre in Durham where my theological knowledge and understanding expanded still further and where my walk with Jesus both deepened and broadened as it never had before.
I finished my two years with an absolute and complete conviction of the reality of Jesus Christ as fully human and fully divine and the understanding that no one branch of theology, whether it be conservative, evangelical, liberal or progressive, provides all the answers.
I have just come to the end of my period as a Probationer Presbyter in the Wharfedale & Aireborough Circuit. It has been a period of my life that has been both challenging and exhilarating and that has confirmed for me that God has indeed called me to give the rest of my life as a Methodist Presbyter.
In my walk with Jesus I cannot imagine myself ever doing anything else.
On Sunday 29th June 2014 I was ordained at Coventry Central Hall as a Presbyter in God’s church. The Holy Spirit came upon me in a very powerful way and, as a result, I’ll never be the same again.
Quite how I’ve changed I still need to discover!
Up until now my walk with Jesus has been largely, though not exclusively, about my journey to ordination.
I can’t wait to see where my walk with Jesus will take me now!
(Rev Rick Ormrod)
With many peaceful blessings