At the Prayer and Praise service on 10th July 2016 we were able to welcome Melanie Otto to Christ Church. Appropriately, the theme of the service was:
Answering God’s Call
The service began with the hymn: In Christ Alone (follow the link to hear this hymn)
This was followed by Rector Ann and Melanie each reading an official document for the start of Melanie's ministry in our Benefice. (This document has to be read in all four of our churches.) Ann then introduced Melanie to the congregation in Q&A format
|Melanie following her ordination as deacon at Salisbury Cathedral|
A. I’m Melanie and I’m getting starting to get used to living in Bradford-on-Avon after several years in Trowbridge. Before that we spent a couple of years in Bristol, and before that we were in Basingstoke for 15 years.
My husband Andrew is a Science Lecturer at Wiltshire College and we have one son at home; Timothy (17) is in Year 12 at Beechen Cliff School in Bath. We have two other sons; Samuel is at Drama School in London and our eldest son James is a Music Graduate, married to Katy and they live in Bath.
And I don’t eat chocolate!
Reading: 1 Samuel 3: 1-10
Q. When did you first feel called?
A. It was while we were in Basingstoke that I first felt God wanted me to do something but it wasn’t clear just what it was. Over the years since then I tried a number of things – teaching assistant, prison work, and most recently Pastoral Officer at St Augustine’s Roman Catholic College in Trowbridge.
Then five years ago I read a book called Grace Outpouring by Roy Godwin and Dave Roberts about a spiritual Christian retreat on a Welsh hillside. I felt drawn to the place, and eventually spent a few days there, asking God ‘What next?‘ The answer I got was ‘take one step at a time and the path will be made clear’. And that is what I did, starting the discernment process at the beginning of 2012, which ultimately led me here.
Hymn: I the Lord of Sea and Sky (follow the link to version with instrumental backing or version with piano - both lovely)
Next there was time for individual prayers, with people coming to light a candle on the table at the front of the church.
|Candles of prayer|
May the road rise up to meet you; may the wind be always at your back; may the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Hymn: Be Thou My Vision (follow the link)
|Let your light shine in the world|
This is an account of the spiritually unexpected unfolding on a Welsh hillside. In keeping with God’s pattern of using marginal people from obscure places - fishermen, tax collectors, children, women and Galileans - this story sees God intrude into the mundane rhythms of life in a Christian retreat centre. Run by a couple in a quiet Welsh hamlet, this house of prayer has touched many lives with healing, repentance and encouragement. The book imparts a fresh understanding of how the church might bless a community through prayer as a prelude to the breaking in of the Kingdom of God into every area of local life. A fresh perspective on evangelism emerges from this inspiring insight into how God might work in your community.
Text by Melanie Otto, Ann Keating and Ann Chapman; candle photos by Melanie Otto.