A 1st 1st for John Carr and Lindisfarne RTP and a Lifetime Achievement for Philippa Harpin


A 1st 1st for John Carr and Lindisfarne RTP and a Lifetime Achievement for Philippa Harpin

John Carr writes:

For me, last year had a number of milestones: ordained Deacon, visiting Israel and completing a BA in Theology and Ministry. The common thread was Lindisfarne which supported, enabled and forced me through the hoops and over the hurdles.

I thoroughly enjoyed the studying, even though balancing all aspects of life was hard at times. The variety of subjects led me into areas that were often unfamiliar but almost always rewarding. I’m more convinced than ever that God who called me to this is well able to reveal himself through the study and training, and at the end of the process I feel that I have grown in faith as well as in knowledge.

Support came from tutors, my sponsoring parish of St James Benwell, and colleagues in training, as well as family who put up with me scuttling off to my computer to wrestle with another essay. (Since finishing I’ve had to find new excuses for doing that.) The degree ceremony in the splendour of Durham Cathedral was a fitting end to this period of study that has been a wonderful blessing. I’d recommend exploring the opportunities available to learn, whether as an independent student or for Reader or Ordained ministry training.

There was one more milestone last year: one of those birthdays with a nought in it. Not even Lindisfarne can stop those.

Philippa Harpin writes

I was licensed as a Reader in October 2006. I had enjoyed the training and found it so useful that I decided to continue with the Diploma, which was difficult because my husband died in the middle of the course. Although I did manage to finish the Diploma, I then felt I needed a break. Several years later it seemed to me that it was a job unfinished, which spurred me on to apply for the BA degree course with Lindisfarne. I learned a great deal and enjoyed the studying, although the assignments were demanding and the deadlines unremitting! I suppose I’ve always loved a challenge and equally loved meeting all the inspiring tutors and interesting people with whom I was working. The highlight was the dissertation on children’s spirituality and Messy Church, which I felt were an enormous part of the learning as I hoped to be able to use this in my own parish of Bywell St Peter’s in Stocksfield, where I have worshipped for 45 years. It was a joy to have the help I received from the Resources Centre and David Bryan who was my supervisor – and we had our first Messy Church on 2 February with Bill Rigby, our Vicar and the most enthusiastic team one can only dream about. There were 30 of us in all and it was a wonderful experience – and a promising start.

The graduation ceremony was impressive and it was certainly a reversal of the roles to share the event with both my sons – and have a celebration party with each of them and their families. I was asked to write this article and in gratitude for what I have received, I did not feel that I could refuse. However, I hope it does not demonstrate a lack of modesty when I say I am chuffed to have graduated at the age of 75! I believe it’s called life-long learning and God has been good to me!

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