Former prosecutor swaps courtroom for church
A former lawyer from Stafford has swapped the courtroom for the Church after being ordained as a deacon at Lichfield Cathedral.
Viv Starkie worked as a solicitor for the Crown Prosecution Service in courts across Staffordshire for more than 24 years before taking early retirement in 2012.
After completing five years of preparation and training, she was one of 22 new curates to be ordained by the Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Reverend Dr Michael Ipgrave, at the cathedral at the weekend.
She will work in an unpaid role as curate in a rural team of 10 churches in the Stafford area.
The mother-of-two said: "I never imagined when I was 33 that I would be ordained as a minister when I was 63. I was then a prosecuting solicitor with two small children.
"I only began teaching Sunday School to avoid the embarrassment of chasing around church after a toddler. As the years passed, I increasingly felt I should be doing more.
"“Out of the blue, I decided to take early retirement. Still reeling from this unexpected change of direction, I suddenly realised that God was calling me to ministry and that my professional skills in advocacy, my passion for justice, my concerns for victims of hate crime and domestic violence, were all just preparation for a vocation in ministry."
Her parishes incorporate a wide range of services, from traditional to café-style. She added: "Ever since I embraced my vocation, I’ve felt a bubble of joy within me.”
The number of people coming forward for ordination in the Diocese of Lichfield, which covers all of Staffordshire as well as the Black Country and northern Shropshire, is on the increase with twice as many new curates in 2017 compared to 2016.