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New priest is the happiest she’s ever been
SHE used to laugh at Christians for being weird – now she’s the one leading the church services.
The Rev Amanda Sim started coming to church because her son joined the cathedral choir. She was amazed at how beautiful the worship was, despite her lack of faith.
Her pivotal moment came when she experienced the presence of God during worship on Good Friday 2013. She and her son Christian were baptised and confirmed together in 2015.
She trained for ordination while still working as a dental hygienist. She gave up that job when she became a deacon last summer and started working at All Saints Church, Catherington, and St James, Clanfield. This summer, Amanda was ordained by the Bishop of Portsmouth as a priest.
“I remember before my ordination last year feeling this sense of imposter syndrome, but the moment the bishop laid his hands on my head, I sensed God saying that he would equip me for this role,” she said.
“And this year is the happiest I have ever been, as well as the most stressed and tired! I have learnt so much. My incumbent is different to me theologically and in personality, but we complement each other so well. He is fantastic at enabling me to do things.
“I do think I have a natural calling to funerals. I’ve taken more than 20, and it is privilege to minister to bereaved families in their hour of need. And baptisms are full of joy. I do now believe that I am doing what God has been equipping me to do for the whole of my life.”
Amanda had grown up in an agnostic family who ridiculed those of faith. But her son Christian was at Portsmouth Grammar School and expressed an interest in joining the cathedral choir in 2012. Amanda then went to every service he sang at, which is why she was there to be blown away by the music on Good Friday 2013.
Christian became head chorister in 2017 and even preached in the pulpit at Portsmouth Cathedral – something Amanda is yet to do. Amanda trained for ordination on our diocese’s in-house theological training course, the Portsmouth Pathway, completing her course in summer 2022.
“The thing I’m really looking forward to about being a priest is presiding at the Eucharist,” she said. “When you elevate the host, invoke the Holy Spirit and invite Jesus into the elements, you are holding people together in Christ.
“I’m also looking forward to leading wedding services, and continuing to be a deacon, to grow in formation and to proclaim the gospel.
“And being back at the cathedral for ordination is not something I would have predicted all those years ago. This place and the choir are very important to me, because it’s the way I came to faith. God’s timing is perfect, so to be here exactly five years after Christian preached at the main Sunday Eucharist is an amazing thing.”