It was a dark, wet and windy Monday night that greeted the Rev’d Canon Jane Brooke, Vice Dean and Canon Missioner, when she fought her way through floods and the howling wind to speak to the parishioners of St Mary’s and St Peter’s at The Plough, Whitegate.
The Rev’d Cannon Jane Brooke was one of the first women ordained as priests in the Church of England in 1994, and has spent the majority of her ministry as a self-supporting minister, demonstrating black-belt level juggling of a career in education (teaching and as an educational consultant), bringing up a family of three and her ministry across Cheshire.
When asked she said God‘nudged’ her into teaching and later ministry, just as it was probably God that nudged the ‘man’ leading the 24 hour silent retreat before her ordination to ‘break the rules’ and allow the women ordinees to talk. We were left with the feeling that Jane was good at talking, that is talking people into doing positive things; the Knife Angel at Chester Cathedral must have taken some talking to convince the powers that be that it was a powerful message. And this was affirmed when Jane admitted that being able to get things done in her current job excited her. Of course, there is a narrow path to tread, as although the Cathedral is foremost a place of prayer and worship, the teams running the Cathedral, the bookshop and refectory are interlinked and must all work together.
A couple of years ago Jane wrote a book “Awesome Anselm”, about a mouse carved into the alter rail at the Cathedral, and his exciting adventures. As the evening ended with Jane talking about the unusual elephant carved in one end of the choir pews who has hooves instead of feet, I wondered if Jane has another book in her.
Our thanks go out to Jane for giving up her evening to speak to us. Her chosen charity was Claire House, and £272 was raised. Many thanks are extended to David Hughes at The Plough who yet again donated a tasty supper to support the event.