October Talking Ministry: an interview with Rev Mandy Ralph

A former nurse who became a Church of Scotland parish minister has spoken of how her journey was "a bit of a surprise".

Rev Mandy Ralph at a pulpit
Rev Mandy Ralph.

Rev Mandy Ralph, who since 2019 has been based at the linked charges of Annbank and Tarbolton in South Ayrshire, spoke about her experiences for the October edition of Talking Ministry.

Having been a church member since a teenager, she said her path to ministry was nevertheless "unintentional and a bit of a surprise".

"It was my own minister who suggested it might be something I consider," she said.

"I had volunteered as a Sunday School leader and served for over ten years.

"Then became an Elder and more involved in the life of the church whilst exploring my own spirituality.

"I think my minister saw something in me that I didn't."

Reflecting on what her advice to someone who is potentially feeling a call to ministry would be, Ms Ralph said: "Don't try and be like anyone else, just be yourself because that's who God called."

In order to incorporate her work as a district nurse alongside her faith, initially Ms Ralph spent five years as an Ordained Local Minister, before becoming a full-time Minister of Word and Sacrament and being inducted into her current charges.

"I felt there was something to be explored in doing so and working to serve in this way," she said.

"Only as time went on did I feel the call to full-time ministry."

Despite "lots of challenges along the way", she continues to be inspired by "colleagues I have worked with who are passionate about the church flourishing, especially in rural communities and importantly for me - Nelson Mandela."

In addition to parish ministry, Ms Mandy Ralph also sits on the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Group, as well as the sub group who are undertaking Research on Ethnic Minorities within the Church of Scotland looking at inequalities and injustice and how as a church we can address these issues and be fully inclusive.

Each month throughout 2021, the Talking Ministry series will share a personal story from those serving in Christian ministry, as well as discernment resources filled with questions, prayers and reflections to help encourage your own reflection on how God might be calling you.

You can read Rev Mandy Ralph's full interview and access the resources for October on our Talking Ministry page.