The Vicar's welcome for everyone
Hello. I am the Rev’d Felicity Walters, Vicar of Charlesworth with Gamesley. There's a picture of me at the top of the page in our gallery. I’m also Vicar of Hadfield, which is where I live. Charlesworth Vicarage, next to St John’s, is occupied by a colleague, the Rev’d Nick Gurney who is Vicar of Dinting Vale and pioneering missioner for Glossopdale.
I was born in Sheffield, but have lived in a number of different places in England.
Through the influence of a Sunday School teacher I became a committed Christian while I was still growing up. Following an experience at the age of nineteen I became convinced that God wanted to use me in his service, but I saw this as being worked out by being an ordinary but active member of the congregation. I have worked as a Civil Servant, and, after having our four children, as an advocacy worker, helping people with mental health problems to speak up for themselves. In 1994 I realised that God was calling me to ordained ministry, and I trained on the West of England Ministerial Training Course, eventually being ordained in early 2001. After serving in Gloucester city and the Forest of Dean I moved north to take up my present post in 2011. I had lived in Gloucestershire for twenty three years and felt very much at home in my adopted county, but when I moved here I felt that I had returned to the landscape which I belong to.
I have four grown up children and four grandchildren, all living in Gloucester, but I am no longer married. I enjoy walking on the tops and the Manchester theatres.
WELCOME TO OUR CHURCHES
Jesus, in John’s Gospel in the Bible tells us:
‘”For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”’ John 3 16-17
We hope to reflect that invitation and generosity of welcome to the whole world in our welcome to people in our churches.
A woman once told me that she’d walked past church thinking to herself, ‘Church is not for the likes of me. I don’t think that I’d be allowed, with my background’. I’m glad to report that the Lord showed her that she was loved, forgiven and belongs with us, but it left me wondering how many more people are out there thinking that?
Our welcome is open whatever your past, or your marital status, or abilities or disabilities, or your sexual orientation. Please make us aware of any particular needs and we will do our best to accommodate you. Church members may, in time take up roles within the local church, and these would be open to anyone who is a disciple [learner/follower] of Jesus without discrimination, although no one is forced to do anything. For public ministries authorised by the national church we are bound by their rules.
Some Christians believe that it is unbiblical for women to be in leadership, for example, or for people from the LGBGT community to be welcomed. The Bible is our guide in all things, but I believe that we must do our best to understand what each scripture meant to those who first heard it before we can understand what it means for us today, and sometimes this process yields surprises. Frankly, some present day issues are hard to be clear over from looking at the Bible, and then I believe that we need to take account of the character of God revealed in Jesus, and the guidance of his Holy Spirit, and risk erring on the side of scandalous generosity….the same grace and scandalous generosity which the Lord has extended to each of us as we have turned to him.
I am always willing to make time to talk with people over the Bible, and to lend books to those who like detail and enjoy reading.