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God in the Life of the Revd Dr Amanda Bloor

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This is a text-only version of an article first published on Thursday, 15 August 2013. Information shown on this page may no longer be current.

FROM Methodist roots to becoming the 'real vicar of Dibley' the Revd Dr Amanda Bloor tells Jo Duckles her story and about moving from her role as Bishop's Chaplain to become a Director of Ordinands.

Click here to hear her talking about her move.

The Revd Dr Amanda Bloor looks after Bishop John's staff for him.

Born and brought up in West Bromwich, Amanda was one of three girls and her family went along to services at the local Methodist chapel.

"My grandfather was a staunch Methodist and I attended Sunday school and services.

The chapel also ran Brownies, Guides and a youth club as a really good example of a Christian faith that was understated but just got on and did things. "Faith has always been there.

At times it might have been more in the background and at times it has come more to the fore, but God has always been a presence," says Amanda.

"Like many people, when I was a teenager and a young adult I wasn't terribly keen on getting out of bed on a Sunday morning. " Amanda studied at Leicester University before moving to London as a civil servant. When she married Mark she moved to an RAF base in rural Norfolk.

"It was quite a shock that there was one bus a week into town.

It was a time when I started realising that community was important," says Amanda, who felt an urgent draw back to church while expecting her eldest daughter, Sophie.

"I went to the nearest church one Sunday morning and was completely ignored by everyone so I looked for somewhere else.

I drew up outside a little country church to read the times on the notice board and an elderly woman doing some weeding in the church yard leapt up and said 'it would be lovely to see you on Sunday'. "That welcoming church was where Sophie was baptised and the family worshipped there until two weeks after their second daughter, Caroline was born, when they moved again.

"Over the next few years I became increasingly involved, helping to run choirs, Sunday Schools, mother-and-toddler groups, Bible studies and washing the coffee cups," says Amanda. At an Alpha course in Shropshire Amanda made a much more dedicated commitment to Christianity, resolving to do whatever God wanted her to do.

She had handed over a demanding role as Chair of the RAF Families Association and went back to university to complete an MA in Women's Studies.

"To my surprise and the surprise of my tutors I was doing a lot of writing about God and faith," says Amanda who wrote a dissertation examining the treatment of Lavinia Byrne, who wrote Woman at the Altar, advocating the ordination of women by the Roman Catholic church. "As I was coming to the end of my year I became very aware that God wanted me to consider ordination which was quite a shock.

I'd got a place on a PhD course and had grant applications in.

However this awareness didn't go away so I had to follow it up," says Amanda, who began training at Ripon College, Cuddesdon 15 months later. As a curate in the Hambleden Valley in South Buckinghamshire, Amanda discovered she loved rural ministry.

"I loved the people I met and they gave me the best introduction I could possibly have hoped for.

I had a really good training incumbent and one of the benefits of being on a rural team is that you get a lot of variety. " Amanda lived in Turville, where the Vicar of Dibley was recorded, and enjoyed meeting Dawn French and the crew when they returned for special episodes. After just over three years, Amanda considered becoming a military chaplain, but realised that was not her calling, and Bishop Alan suggested she apply to be Bishop John's chaplain, a role that has made use of her experience of teaching, working with MoD figures through the RAF and Civil Service work. "It turned out to be a really good fit.

After a terrifying series of interviews I was appointed to the post and I have had a very happy six years doing it," says Amanda who is about to become Director of Ordinands for Berkshire and Assistant Director of Ordinands for Dorchester.

She will continue as the Diocesan Adviser on Women's Ministry. "It's such an exciting role.

I have managed to complete a part time PhD since I have been ordained, looking at what people's journeys into priestly ministries are like, how it affects them and how the church can help the priests work well for both the clergy and the parishes they serve. ""I will be sad to leave the bishop's office but it will be great to be able to continue building on the contacts I have built here, to stay in the Diocese and to have a set of new challenges. "Amanda lives in Oxford with Mark.

Caroline and Sophie are now in their mid 20s.

For fun Amanda reads, runs and swims and goes to the theatre.

Page last updated: Monday 24th January 2022 4:27 PM
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