Phyllis was born in Gateshead-upon-Tyne and spent her early school years in Manchester. Her Scottish parents then decided to move the family back to Lossiemouth then Nairn to be near grandparents. Phyllis went to University of Aberdeen to study science where she met Chris. They married in 1981 and moved to Glasgow for Chris’ first job and Phyllis’ post-grad teaching course. Phyllis taught Chemistry and Biology, full-time, for 7 years. Two sons, teaching part-time and 3 times living overseas, the family settled in Derbyshire in 1994.
Phyllis’ first “God moment” was at age 7. Noticing winter sunlight coming through a gap in her bedroom curtains, she sensed that “a God who could create such a wonderful thing must be able to love a little girl like me”. As a teenager, she realised that “Christian” was not a label you wore, like being English or Scottish, but rather it was a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Phyllis was baptised as a believer when she was 17, the day before she went to university. Her faith and experience of God grew through attending Church and the Hall of Residence Bible study and Prayer groups and being with Christians of many different traditions. Chris became Christian, in his 2nd year. (He can share his story in another edition).
In Derbyshire, they attended a local village Anglican church where they experienced the ministry of Readers. The vicar and PCC endorsed God’s calling on Phyllis to be a Reader. She trained and was licensed. Later, studying half-time in St John’s college, Nottingham, Phyllis’ love of theology thrived, and she sensed God calling her towards ordination. She resisted. Realising that fighting God was pointless, she was eventually ordained in 2011. She served her curacy and first incumbent post in Derby Diocese, ministered for a while in Nottinghamshire, then returned to Derby, prayerfully seeking a long-term incumbent post, while covering vacancy churches and mentoring curates and clergy. Six months later, July 2019, the ART Rector post was advertised. Chris and Phyllis moved into the Rectory on 11 December. Phyllis was licensed on the 14th, then straight into the wonderful Christmas season.