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Car crash helped Amy respond to God's call

It was a car crash in France that prompted Amy Webb to realise what God wanted her to do ...

It was a car crash in France that prompted Amy Webb to realise what God wanted her to do.
 
The car rolled over twice with Amy and her daughters, then aged seven and five, inside. Although the car was totally destroyed, miraculously none of them were hurt. Amy had a real sense of God’s presence – and also that life was short.
 
She realised it was worth doing something about her feeling that God was calling her to become ordained in the Church of England.
 
The 40-year-old, who was worshipping at St John’s Church, Fareham, is now preparing to become the curate in the villages of Botley, Curdridge and Durley after her ordination in Portsmouth Cathedral this Saturday (July 4).
 
She will be one of six people ordained as deacon – the first stage of ordination, which means you are called ‘the Reverend’, can wear a dog collar, preach and lead services. Another six people who were ordained deacon last summer will be ordained as priests at our cathedral this Saturday (July 4) – that means they’ll be able to lead Holy Communion and wedding services as well.
 
Amy said: “I had joined the choir at St Columba Church in Fareham when I was 11, but then drifted away from church when I was about 16. I was married at 22 and had my girls when I was 26 and 28, but my marriage was falling apart. Five weeks after my second daughter was born, my husband left me. We’d made a bit of a mess of our lives.
 
“By that time, I’d become involved with St John’s Church, through an Alpha course. I saw a leaflet come through the door, went along and found them very welcoming. I became more involved with the church and over the last 15 years, they’ve helped me through the end of my marriage, my divorce and bringing up two girls.
 
“Because I was on my own, I asked if a Bible study group could meet at my house. One of the people in that group was Mark, who later became my husband.
 
“My vicar Peter Hall led a sermon series that encouraged us to look at our gifts and what we felt called to. I felt God might be calling me to speak in church, which was surprising because my background is art. I thought perhaps I could be a Reader (a lay minister who also leads services). My mother-in-law Liz mentioned it to Peter, and he told her ‘She’s not right to be a Reader’. What I didn’t realise was that he felt I would be suitable for ordination!
 
“I left it and didn’t do anything about it until the car crash in France. When the car came to rest in this field, I had this amazing sense of God’s presence in the silence. It was a desperate situation – I’d bought the car with my divorce money, the insurance didn’t cover it, and I lost the ferry ticket in the crash. But I was alive and so were the girls, and I felt that God was saying to me that my life could end at any time and what was I going to do with it?”

Amy is just one of a number being ordained deacon or priest in the Portsmouth diocese this weekend.

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