Sarah came to study with us as part of her ordination training through the Chichester Diocese; she graduated in 2015.

“My journey to ordination training was one that began with a suggestion from my Rector in 2005. It was a suggestion that I rejected immediately; mainly because of the stress of my job at the time. Back then, I couldn’t imagine considering anything else and also, if I am honest, I rejected the suggestion because of the question: ‘Why me?’.

“I was made redundant back in 2008, which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. It allowed me to step back from life and look at what I was, where I was, and most importantly where I felt I was being called to be. This brought up the question: ‘Why not me?’.”

A thoughtful discernment before enrolling at St Augustine’s

“The discernment process for me was a slow and steady one. I spoke to Vocations Advisors, Diocesan Directors of Ordinands, and my Spiritual Director. I allowed myself time to listen to what God wanted me to do and where.

“My experiences in a busy managerial role in a large office had showed me that what people really need is someone to talk to, who understands and relates to what is commonly called ‘real life’. That is why I believe my calling is to self-supporting ministry, at least a twofold calling.”

Ordination training to pursue a calling to self-supported ministry

“On a personal level, I believe it will allow me to relate more closely to others, especially those seeking or enquiring. This is in regard to how daily pressures around job security and money matters etc. affect Christian living and our relationship with God and the Church. I will be meeting people where they are, not only emotionally but also practically, and able to journey with them.

The second aspect is in relation to my new job as Assistant Manager of a Christian Bookshop in the centre of Chichester, housed in a Saxon church.”

Offering guidance outside a church setting

“I am in the fortunate position of being able, with the support of my employers, to look at using my ministry to offer a resource within the city centre to those who are looking for something, even if it’s just 5 minutes in a peaceful place.

In doing so, I will be building on the pastoral support and teaching already offered to staff and customers alike. A simple request for advice on a bible can, and frequently does, lead to listening to a customer’s story and being there with them on their journey either to, or back to, God, outside of what can feel like the intimidating environment of a Parish Church.”

–        Sarah Manouch, St Augustine’s alumni (graduated, 2015)