From folk and jokes to faith and hope
If you had told Lee Chantler five years ago that he would be featured on a Church of England website talking about his priestly vocation, he would have probably fallen over with laughter, or used it in one of his gigs.
Having long since abandoned the Roman Catholicism of his childhood, Lee was at that time in the process of switching careers from stand-up comedy to folk music when he unexpectedly felt the call.
“My wife and I were living in a small village on the Cornish coast where, having not become an overnight folk sensation and with very few opportunities for comedy gigs, I took a job in a pottery. It was through working in the midst of this wonderful community that I made my first tentative steps towards faith; I went along to the Christingle service with my baby daughter and my entire life changed.”
Lee admits the process hasn’t been without challenges. “The greatest challenge for me is that very few of my friends or family have any connection with church and so don’t really understand what it is I’m doing. Although strangely, none of them were shocked when I told them I wanted to be a priest. I explain my faith to them simply as the hope I have in God’s unending love, which enables me to read the news each morning and still go out into the world with a thankful heart.”
Lee says the world has seemed wonderfully surreal since that December afternoon. “As I sit here reminiscing in my tower study at ‘Holy Hogwarts’ (Cuddesdon), I still can’t quite believe what’s happened.
“There have been moments of great joy and deep sorrow, times when I have felt completely out of my depth and occasions when I have thought that I might actually be up to this. I have been afforded the privilege of standing alongside families in their grief, of serving the homeless and the vulnerable and even of taking tea with an Archbishop! And whenever this extraordinary journey has felt like someone else’s path and I have struck off in my own direction, God has always brought me back.”
Lee, whose home parish is St Peter’s in Port Isaac, is set to be ordained in 2019.
For more information of vocations visit: