Talking Ministry: "God wanted me to want it enough"

A minister of 15 years' experience has spoken of how she left her former career as a research scientist to pursue her calling.

Rev Dr Karen Fenwick with her dog Mitzi
Rev Dr Karen Fenwick with her dog Mitzi.

Rev Dr Karen Fenwick, who is based at Lowson Memorial Church in Forfar, was speaking as part of the Talking Ministry series.

After finishing a science degree Dr Fenwick realised that she was perhaps on the wrong path but was not in a position to start studying theology to pursue becoming a minister of Word and Sacrament.

"Twenty years later, the doors all opened," she said.

"More than that though it was almost as though God wanted me to want it enough,"

"It's so hard to know is this God I'm hearing or something I'm imagining?

"I would say test it - go for it, step out into the unknown."

Looking back on her experiences, Dr Fenwick says that some of the highlights of her time as a minister have been the way people have rallied together during the pandemic, which she described as "overwhelming".

Having started a food parcel service with her husband, which now has a team of people to support it, she was delighted that the community rallied around to support the project during the pandemic.

Local supermarkets, food outlets and restaurants around Forfar helped to support the church dropping off food packages, demand for which had soared from around 40 a week to over 250.

"At a time nationally when we were at a bit of a low, it turned into a high just to see God's love at work and people responding to that need," Dr Fenwick explained.

"It was lovely to be part of it."

"It's a priority for us to be connected to the local community.

"We can't hide in the walls of the church, that's not what we were called to do either as ministers or as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"It has to be about being part of the community and working alongside the people doing great things out there too."

Despite the difficulties of the last year, Dr Fenwick feels it has led to some innovation in how the Church of Scotland can reach people and is looking forward to the future.

"There was spontaneous applause from the congregation the first time we were allowed to sing with masks on," she said.

"There is now that hope that we're gradually getting little bits back and we're keeping the online presence because we totally understand that some folks are not ready to be back in a crowd yet but I'm now full of excitement and hope for the future and that's good as well."

Each month throughout 2021, the Talking Ministry series will share a personal story from those serving in Christian ministry, as well as discernment resources filled with questions, prayers and reflections to help encourage your own reflection on how God might be calling you.

You can read Rev Dr Karen Fenwick's full interview and access the resources for July on our Talking Ministry page.