Petertide Ordinations 2018: Alex’s family excited to be joining St Illogan Parish
Alex Sharp’s first experience of living in Cornwall was as a student studying for a Fine Art degree at the then University College Falmouth (now Falmouth University).
On completing his studies, Alex stayed on in a voluntary position with UCCF: thechristianunions. Working alongside students, this was his first experience of full time Christian ministry, and he’s not looked back since.
Alex became a Christian as a teenager through a youth summer camp run by what is now Urban Saints. “The clear teaching of what Jesus had come to do by dying for us on the cross and rising again to new life, coupled with the chance to ask questions and get honest answers, meant I left at the end of that week convinced that God was there and that I needed to respond to what I’d heard.”
Alex has been back to camp every year since, and has been responsible for running it since summer 2011.
Arriving back home in Basingstoke after that first summer camp, Alex quickly found his way to a local parish church where he found a warm welcome and made lots of new friends. “What made such a lasting impression on me in those early days was the effort and sacrifice of both peers and older Christians giving up their time to open up the Bible and share with me what God has to say to us today through the Scriptures.”
When he finally left Cornwall, Alex returned to Basingstoke to work as a ministry trainee at that same parish church. There he met his wife, Bethan, and they were married in 2010. As a ministry trainee, Alex was blessed with the opportunity to receive some excellent training through the Cornhill Training Course in London, while at the same time gaining valuable experience of what it means to work in a local church context. Alex remained on the staff team for five years, overseeing the older youth work as his primary responsibility.
In autumn 2013, Alex began to explore a call to ordained ministry in the Church of England and, after a successful Advisory Panel, Alex and Bethan moved to London to prepare for ministry at Oak Hill College. “What drew us to Oak Hill was the thoughtfulness they had put into not only the training that ordinands receive, but the provision for spouses as well. Bethan was made to feel just as welcome as I was, and was able to benefit from the world class theological teaching by auditing modules herself.” While at college the family grew with the arrival of their son Edward in September 2016.
The whole family is excited to be moving back to the south west and joining in the life and ministry of St Illogan Parish. They look forward to all that God will be teaching them in this next season of life.