A recent graduate of the Sarum College Ministry Course has won a prize as Employee of the Month for developing excellent relationships with vulnerable clients.
The Revd Gerard Mee is a self-supporting minister and a Community Support Worker with County Care, which supports people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues.
Gerard graduated from the Sarum Ministry Course in 2016, and is now a deacon and self-supporting minister at St Mary’s, Thorpe, in the Diocese of Guildford and expects to be ordained a priest in June.
Gerard started working for County Care last August, and won the award – and a bottle of champagne – after establishing a trusting relationship with a client who had not been out of the house for four years, with the result that they have now managed to venture out into the community.
Of his ministry in holy orders, Gerard said, “I am a great supporter of self-supporting ministry. I believe I’m following in the footsteps of the French Roman Catholic priests in the 1920s who felt called to start the worker priest movement, serving God and their neighbour in the world of secular employment.
“I have always looked upon the Church as my mother and in my own small way I feel that by being an SSM I am giving something back to my mother who has always been there for me.
“I have always had a strong pull towards being a foot solider of Jesus, and a priestly ministry of subtly acting out God’s love for anybody and everybody.
“The opportunity to offer support to local people living with a wide range of learning disabilities is both challenging and tremendously rewarding. I wouldn’t change it for the world!
“God willing, this exciting journey of serving Him shall be further enhanced when I’m priested at Guildford Cathedral this Petertide.”
Gerard wrote this reflection on his time at Sarum College – and we quote – “as a Northerner from West Lancashire who tells it how it is”:
“Community, is a word so often overused, therefore the best and most honest way that I would like to capture my three years at Sarum College that it was a family.
“Families, as we all know, are diverse melting pots where people are hopefully encouraged to share the views on a wide range of subjects.
“Sarum College is not a theological ‘sausage factory’ where everybody is expected to come out of the other side ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. However, what Sarum does is provide each student with the permission to explore the various ways that the whole of humanity can touch and be touched by God.
“Another important aspect of any loving family is support and care when, from time to time, we experience wobbles in life. It does matter to Sarum if a student is facing health issues, facing financial challenges or dealing with ‘everyday’ situations. The pastoral care and the way that all the staff rally round is surely the envy of every theological college in the country.”