Claire Jones will be ordained as a deacon in Truro Cathedral on June 28. She will be one of 11 being made a deacon during that service and once ordained, Claire will serve in the parishes of the Bodmin Team Benefice.

Although she grew up in Bath, Claire’s move to Cornwall is a kind of coming home as her father’s family originally farmed around Fowey.

Claire said: “I’m excited about moving to Cornwall, for the amazing clotted cream, pasties, cider and hogs pudding, as well as the beaches and towns and beautiful countryside. I’m really looking forward to exploring my heritage and starting the next chapter in my family’s Cornish life.”

Joining Claire will be her partner Rose who will also be one of those ordained as deacon at the same service. Rose is not new to the diocese having spent time as part of the Way2 Community when it was based in Stithians before she was accepted for ministry training.

Claire added: “I’m really thankful that God has also called me to share life with Rose, who spurs me on to keep trusting God and to not be afraid. It will be a great joy to be ordained beside her, as she becomes a curate in the North Cornwall Cluster.”

Claire’s path to ministry was not an easy one.

“I grew up in a conservative evangelical Anglican church. I believed God had given men and women complementary and different roles, so being a young woman, I should not preach or lead a church.

“I was supported in my faith and nurtured in a caring community. It grounded me in a love for Scripture, and a passion for sharing the gospel at school.”

As a teenager, Claire struggled with a difficult family situation, and came to find Jesus to be the ever-faithful friend who came close in her suffering, offered forgiveness for all her mistakes, and invited her into joyful adventure with him.

There were also people in Claire’s church who encouraged her to try out leading and speaking in youth work contexts and as a result she spent a gap year volunteering in a Baptist church in South London, mostly working with children and teenagers.

Claire said: “I’d started to read about other Christian views on gender, and considering that maybe the Bible might allow women a leadership role. Eventually, I began to preach in the church – it’s hard to describe, but even though I was nervous and still not entirely sure it was okay, I found that I felt more at home, more myself, than I ever had done before. God seemed to confirm that this was not only okay in general, but absolutely right for me.”

Claire went on to university to study theology, and started to sense that God might be calling her to ordination, something that scared her so much she thought she’d try out whatever else she could first.

“When I led worship, I felt at home”

Having moved to London and started work at Christian Aid, Claire still felt a restlessness she couldn’t explain. “I worked in their youth team and then in communications. I loved it: the cause, the work, the new friends, the social life. I loved writing resources for churches, editing policy reports, coming up with creative new campaigns. But there was this restlessness. It was like wearing a jacket that was the wrong size, I was wriggling around in it trying to find a comfortable fit. I had got involved with a church in London and just as before, it was when I preached and when I led worship, that I felt at home. That was the jacket that fit.”

Having seen a post about the Community of St Anselm, a new sort of monastic community set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Claire decided to join.

“It was an opportunity to commit to a rule of life, to explore silence and solitude, to worship alongside others from all over the world and many denominations and Christian traditions. I was still afraid of the call to ordination because I thought I wasn’t ‘good enough’; I thought I needed a spiritual boot camp to ‘sort me out’, and this seemed just the thing. It turned out God had other ideas. In my year as a member of the community, God showed me that it wasn’t a boot camp that I needed. I didn’t need to be perfect before he could use me. Instead, he invited me to draw near to him, to let his love keep shaping and forming me, and he would do the rest. He said to me, ‘Do not be afraid’.”

Fast forward three years, and Claire is preparing for ordination. “I took God at his word, and I’m jumping with both feet into this great adventure of ministry with Jesus and his church.”