Ladies' Fellowship June 2015
We were delighted to welcome the Rev. Judith Satchel to speak at our end of session meeting. Thirteen ladies were present to hear how she became a minister and hear about her progression to our area. Judith brought two visual aids: the first introduced her talk and the second concluded it.
Judith showed us a piece of pottery she made on a course held at Millfields School. It was lovely. She explained that pots, once fired, do not always turn out as expected. That is what life is like, and so it was for Judith. She was born in London. Her father was a URC minister and his father had been a Congregational minister. When she was four the family moved to Cleckheaton then when she was eleven they moved to Abingdon and eventually to the Potteries. Judith had no thoughts of entering the ministry herself. She trained as a nurse at Guy's Hospital and loved it. After qualifying she went on to train as a Health Visitor and worked in many challenging and deprived areas in that region.
Whilst helping at a youth camp in North Wales Judith met Paul whose father was also a URC minister. They married and moved to Bedford where Judith continued to work as a Health Visitor until their two children were born. Eventually they moved further north towards Sheffield and they decided to attend a local Methodist church where they were made very welcome. Judith worked part-time when the children where at school.
One day when the family was at her parents' church on a visit Judith began to think in terms of becoming a local preacher. Two years went by before she started to talk to a new minister about it. After this she started her training. It was hard work and a very demanding course but she enjoyed it. Towards the end of the course she started to sense that there may be something else- the ministry. Then someone suggested it to her!
Judith was accepted for training with a view to being a non-stipendiary minister. For the course she travelled part-time into Sheffield. A year into her course tragedy struck when Richard, their 17year old son, died following a road traffic accident. Richard was in a coma for a few days and many people prayed for his recovery. It did not happen, but God did not let go of Judith and she went back to college. It changed her perception of God. He is with us in our troubles but does not always make things right in the way that we would wish. The miracle for Judith was to be able to keep going.
Eventually Judith was appointed to look after a Methodist church on the outskirts of Dronfield. She was the first lady minister there and the first minister of their own. She was there for four years, working part-time as a Health Visitor and 20 hours per week as a minister. She started coffee mornings and introduced a mother and toddler group.
In all they had been in the area 20 years when Paul got a job in Bradford. The move meant saying goodbye to many lovely people but Judith settled as a minister in the Halifax area for the next ten years. She had four churches and served as a hospital chaplain. In her final year in the area she introduced "messy church". Judith feels that as a minister you should never be surprised at what you are asked to do and that ministers find themselves turning a hand to all sorts of things.
Paul's work eventually took him to Wakefield and Judith was "matched" with the Dewsbury circuit.
Judith obviously has many creative and practical talents and her second visual aid was her knitted sheep which she has made in preparation for the Christmas season when knitted sheep will be presented in shops as and aid to delivering the Christian message at this important time.
Judith, we thank you for your candid and inspirational talk. You have taken up life's challenges and shown to us what can be accomplished with God's help. We are blessed to have you among us and we hope and pray that you will remain with us for a long time.