Welcome to Reverend Joanne Hodge, OLM
We asked Joanne to comment on her journey to being an Ordained Local Minister, after several years serving as a Licensed Lay Minister in Yate Parish I have always had a strong sense that I am being called by God. Already at the age of five I was convinced that God wanted me to be a nun. Since living in Yate I have felt my calling to be in the Parish where I live, carrying out my ministry in the community. Prompted by a strong sense that God was calling me to do more, I went through a process of discussion with others, prayers and a great deal of soul-searching, and finally recognised that ordination to priesthood was what God planned for me. It has been a privilege to train and worship at Trinity College alongside my fellow ordinands, who come from all walks of life; I have forged some strong friendships. Spirituality has been a powerful theme throughout the training, supported by the college retreat days, wonderful communal meals and restorative residential weeks. OLM stands for Ordained Local Minister. This ministry is unpaid and home-grown. OLM priests are specifically called from their local congregation to minister in that locality. The OLM scheme began over thirty years ago, yet the idea is still quite radical and serves to explore alternative ways of providing pastoral ministry. All of us are ordained by God to be ministers when we are baptised. My role as deacon, and then priest, means that I am here to equip the people in this parish to perform that ministry for themselves. The whole process from discernment and training through to ordination affirms my calling to serve God’s people, and the mark of this is the strip of plastic in my collar. I’m not entirely sure how my ministry in Yate will change – it’s very early days – but I know it will be very exciting. I feel confident that I am being obedient to God’s call, and remain very open-minded as to what he has in mind – I long ago gave up dictating my ideas to Him!