My ordination story: James Patterson

25 June 2024

James Patterson

Every time I was asked ‘Have you ever thought about becoming a minister?’ I experienced all manner of feelings: fear, dread, affirmation – but mainly fear!

At the beginning, I was filled with the confidence in saying a firm ‘NO!’. The flipside however; if I hadn’t been asked that question I highly doubt I would be in the ministry I am now.

It was a question people started asking after I graduated in 2009, a time when I was unemployed and didn’t know what to do. Even when I was undertaking a volunteer placement in a local Anglican church in Saltburn (Emmanuel), from which I was empowered to become self-employed, it was still a question I could never get away from.

I always felt as though I’d been saved for a reason, it being a miracle that I was born in the first place. We have muscular dystrophy in my family and at one time for about an hour the doctors tried to persuade my parents to abort the pregnancy.

After a time in prayer, my dad believed that God gave him a word: Luke 17 “having faith the size of a mustard seed”. This gave my parents the faith to continue.

Thanks to them and to so many at Guisborough Methodist Church, I learned how to pray, to study the Bible and to get to be part of a loving community which is really important.

It was 2014, when the frequency of being asked that question increased to the point where I was encouraged to test the call by asking for a note to preach.

My then superintendent said, ‘I have been waiting for you to come to ask for a note’. It seemed everyone knew I would become a minister long before I did. Through the preaching in the Cleveland and Danby Circuit and the studies, I grew in confidence, and drew closer to God, knowing God empowering me.

In 2018 I candidated for the ordained ministry, starting at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham a year later. I became somewhat of a “guinea-pig” when I was one of the first on-site residents to undertake the Circuit Based Learning Pathway.

This meant that I worked more closely with three churches (Perry Hall and Great Barr Methodist and Messy Churches) and their minister and I would otherwise have done.

I learnt so much about pastoral care and working with children and young people, whilst having the opportunity to start new things including a men’s group and Bible study.

I was asked recently, ‘What makes you joyful in ministry?’, and my response was the people. The people who have encouraged me along my journey, my family and friends, my wife Angela (whom I met at college) and the people I serve with now in the Amersham Methodist Circuit.

I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start my ministry as it has been, and continues to be, a joy in getting to know the people with whom I serve.

From a time of saying ‘No!’ to becoming a minister, God had other ideas and I believe I am definitely doing what God wanted me to do all along, fulfilling the potential that God saw in me – as God does with us all.