Revd. Steve Jones – Assistant Priest, Bishops Advisor on Disability, Retired Entrepreneur, Non- Executive Director, Husband, Father and Grandpa – but not always in that order….
Life started just over 60 year ago in South Birmingham where I was born in to a very loving, generous and committed Catholic family. (Well, Mom – now in her 92nd year, was committed. Dad was “Church of England” and committed at Christmas and Easter.) Faith and “going to Church” were always a very important part of my early years, we were always very open about our Faith and encouraged to speak openly about the good news of the Bible.
I was diagnosed at the age of 12 with an aggressive form of a degenerative spinal condition, but was blessed at the same time by meeting at the Woodlands Hospital with one of the finest spinal surgeons whose mission was to take me on as a project to be fixed. He spent the following 25 years doing just that.
During a very dark time during my 20’s I made a deal with God, that if he was to give me relief from pain, then I would actively serve him in whatever way and whenever he called me.
WARNING – if you make a deal with God, he will remember the fine details of the deal.
It took another 30 years for God to call me. In that time I married, had two wonderful daughters, started, built and sold a number of businesses, and lived the entrepreneurial dream of the 80’s and early 90’s.
God then called me at Spring Harvest to become a Youth Minister at my local Church, which led to 3D study, training to be a Reader (2001), and finally being called to Ordained Ministry following life changing back surgery in 2008.
Being an ordained minister and living with a disability is a challenging, exciting, frightening, rewarding, frustrating, emotional and positive experience. We are called to support in difficult situations, we will have our Christian values and beliefs challenged, we will often feel compromised and equally empowered by our belief.
Would I do anything differently? No!
Do I feel fulfilled by my ministry? Yes!
Is there much to do to make our Church buildings, our teaching and our liturgy accessible and inclusive? Yes!