The path to ordination is unique and for some people a sense of calling comes later in life. The Diocese of Truro welcomes anyone who feels they want to explore their vocation at any point in their life.

Linda Garthwaite is one of those who responded to the calling of God and began the South West Ministry Training Course. Having lead a varied life, her path brought her to Cornwall where she felt she had reached the right time in her life to respond to God’s call.

Linda Garthwaite

Linda lives in west Cornwall and with her husband, Mark, runs a holiday park on the coast. She first experienced God calling her when, aged 14, she attended a Youth for Christ rally. She admits that she wasn’t remotely interested in the religious element but was attracted by the fact that the boys from the youth group would be there! Towards the end of the rally, the speaker invited people to come to the front to offer their lives to Christ if they felt so called. She says she will never forget that moment when, like a bolt out of the blue, she felt an instant and compelling urgency to respond. Never having heard of the Holy Spirit, it was years before she began to make sense of the floods of tears that accompanied this experience, and a sense of being washed clean and filled with a powerful and overflowing love.

Unfortunately, the Christian youth group to which she belonged was not able to support Linda’s nascent faith and in her twenties, while living in South Africa, she experienced a period of atheism. It wasn’t until her thirties and the death of her father, that her journey back to faith began in earnest. A friend introduced her to a church in Derbyshire, of which she and Mark became active members. It wasn’t long before the rector told her that he believed God was calling her to ordained ministry, but Linda didn’t feel the time was right. She was neither spiritually mature enough nor settled in Derbyshire, and looks back on that time now as a signpost from God indicating that when he called again, the time would be right.

On moving to Cornwall, Linda and Mark searched for a church in the area. They attended a Methodist church for a while, but it was while arranging the funeral of a close friend that she met Revd Nigel Marns, Rector of Mount’s Bay Benefice, and began attending Perranuthnoe Church. It wasn’t long before she became very active in the church and, in 2012, Linda was licensed as a Local Worship Leader.

It was during a diocesan exchange visit to Strangnas in Sweden that Revd Marns told her that he believed God was calling her to ordained ministry. This time, and with some trepidation, she entered into the diocesan discernment process. Her vocation was confirmed by a Bishop’s Advisory Panel (BAP) and she was recommended for training, joining the SWMTC in September 2016. The training is in two parts: formative and academic and once successfully completed, Linda will be a Self-Supporting Minister (SSM) working in both the benefice and on her holiday park.

While the church is currently strongly encouraging younger ordinands, Linda feels the question of age is irrelevant. She says: “As long as one is reasonably fit – and stamina is certainly required – it’s not a question of age, but of calling. It’s a matter of God’s will and timing. Personally, I feel I would have been an unsuitable candidate in my thirties, but now, given my experience of life and faith and where God has placed us, the time feels absolutely right. On the holiday park we have a fantastic opportunity for outreach. Over 2,000 people visit us every year and Mark and I feel that a big part of this calling is to ministry here. Already, in the summer we hold outdoor worship, attended by over 80 people and we are looking to expand all aspects of ministry, as God guides.”

Linda says she would encourage anyone of any age to explore what they believe to be a calling from God. She adds: “I’m enjoying every minute of training, together with the feeling of peace that comes from discovering and living God’s will for my life.”


Is God calling you?

For more information about ordained ministry or other opportunities in the church go to or contact:
The Revd Canon, Jane Vaughan-Wilson, Diocesan Director of Ordinands on or 01736 351825; or The Revd Simon Bone, Assistant Director of Ordinands on or  01209 822862.