New Challenge Out Of A Vacuum For Vicar
It was while vacuuming that Caroline Friswell realised she wanted to devote her life to Ministry. Now an Anglican vicar, the Revd Dr Caroline Friswell has been appointed to a new parish in County Durham.
A counsellor as well as a member of the clergy, she has moved from her post as
Assistant Curate at Greenside Parish, Ryton, Gateshead, to become Duty Priest in Charge of St Peter's Church, Byers Green, near Bishop Auckland. She will continue her work as a Counsellor in three GP Surgeries in the Bishop Auckland area, splitting her time between the two roles.
Before her ordination in 2009, she worked for many years as a lecturer, teaching History at Sunderland University and the Open University, and has been a Counsellor since 1993, first with Relate and, for the past ten years, in Primary Care.
Caroline said: “I was brought up as a regular churchgoer but in February 1980, whilst vacuuming, a voice in my head said ‘Jesus died for you‘. Before that moment, I had not really understood the significance of Jesus' death for me personally.
When I asked what I could possibly do in return the voice said ‘Just love me‘. Ever since that moment, I have been learning what it really means to love God and to accept and understand God’s love for me and everyone else. Over the past 32 years, I have wanted to serve God in whatever way I can and in recent years that has included parish ministry.
I have known failure and disappointment. For example, I first explored ordination back in the early 1990s and met with setback and hurt. It took courage for me to begin the exploration all over again in 2004 but I knew that I had to take the risk, even if it meant being rejected all over again. In the end, I realised that it was pride and fear that were holding me back and that obedience to what I felt was God's call was more important than anything else.”
She sees similarities between her work as a vicar supporting people and the other work she does and has done, saying: “I am most proud of times when individuals that I am counselling find the inner resources to change their situation and discover new-found self-confidence or where a couple reconnect and rebuild their relationship. When teaching I was proud of students who made real progress as a result of my input.”
Church warden Beryl Haygarth said: “We haven’t had a vicar here for more than three years, so getting Caroline is great news and a big weight off my shoulders. We now have someone at the helm again, to lead and guide us spiritually and practically.”
Newly appointed Church warden Jennifer Harbour said: “My first impressions of Caroline was that she is a very modern vicar using technology to communicate with us. In these days of facebook and twitter, having a vicar that communicate using technology as well as more conventional means is going to be great for us.”
Caroline said: “I often use technology to help with my ministry particularly audio-visual to tell stories in my sermons. I have started to use text to communicate with the parish and who know what the future holds.”
Caroline is married to Antony and has three adult daughters. Her hobbies include spending time with friends, reading, family history, art history, going to the theatre and skiing.
She will be formally licensed by the Bishop and welcomed to the parish in November.
Picture By: Keith Blundy / Aegies Associates
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