Rev. Annette Haigh
I grew up in a Manse, my father having been ordained as a Congregational minister. It was socially challenging growing up in a manse, but it reinforced my faith; at age 10 I made the conscious decision that the Christian faith was mine, and not just my family’s.
At the age of 14 I received a calling to ministry, and was taken seriously and encouraged in this faith journey by family, local church and synod moderator. Before leaving school, I began the candidating process. (Candidates could then begin training at 20). When I was 18 I went to Bradford to do six months voluntary work within every possible area of church life and service with a very active church located on, and serving, a large council estate (with all the associated complex social issues). This was to gain contrasting experience to my father’s pastorate in rural Northamptonshire.
It turned out that it was 20 years before I began training for formal ministry, though I consider my whole life (even now) as training. I remained for those 20 years actively involved in the same church in Bradford, and its service to the local community, becoming an elder at approximately age 23. I served the church in various ways, and the wider church through Bradford District Council.
My working life prior to formal training for ministry was varied: being an office administrator/PA prior to having children. The early years of family life included challenges of redundancy and gynaecological illness. Having chosen to be at home with our children before they went to school, I used craft skills as a paying hobby making wedding dresses and special occasion cakes; I worked part time in retail to fit round school times; and then returned to office administration.
My formal ministry training was at Northern College, Manchester, where the course in Contextual Theology included both church and community placements alongside each academic year. During my life, I have experienced different and varied congregations and pastorates.
I was ordained in 2007 in the Halifax Group, and moved in 2015 to work with the Goyt and Etherow Pastorate on the border of north west Derbyshire and Cheshire; and then in September 2020 moved to Keighley to work with the Aire Valley Pastorate – Bingley URC and Idle Upper Chapel URC.