The Revd Sibylle Batten is currently Assistant Curate in the Manor Parish and will become the Rector, with responsibility for St Aiden’s; St Swithun’s and Temple Park (formerly William Temple).
Her licensing has been delayed because of the period of mourning for Her Late Majesty The Queen, but will take place later this week.
The role will be to provide ministry across the churches, but also Oversight Ministry within the Mission Area:
“My background is quite varied: I trained as a probation officer, and spent most of my adult life working in the voluntary and public sector, including as a Civil Servant in the Ministry of Justice, and more recently for the Church Urban Fund and as a Chaplain for Methodist Homes. Having been brought up as Roman Catholic, women’s ordination was something I campaigned for but never considered for myself! A conversation with my colleague, the then Chaplain General for the Prison Service, changed all this. ‘When you talk about church, your eyes light up. Have you ever thought about ordination?’ I dismissed the idea initially, but it felt like God was knocking at the door. Out of the blue “non-churchy” friends texted ‘You should do more church and less work …’. Within months I’d resigned from the civil service and volunteered in prison chaplaincy which confirmed my calling. While I was training for ordination I opted for a placement on the Manor. It’s one of the poorest areas in the country, but I had such a warm welcome and it felt like coming home; I was brought up on an urban estate in Germany in a similar church and area.”
“It’s a church and area with many challenges, the impact of inequality can be stark yet it’s a place I feel called to. There is community spirit, people look out for each other, with many opportunities for team work, for collaboration, everyone – in all our wonderful diversity and differences – has a part to play. It’s exactly where the church needs to be. We want to join in with what is already happening, and invite others to break bread with us.”
“We are part of Inclusive Church, and have people from a wide demographic living and worshipping here. Even if I had a choice of being in a better resourced parish, it’s not where I would want to be; I feel so affirmed here, and want us to be a place of belonging, of hope, where all can know that we are part of God’s unfolding story!”
Sibylle wants to encourage others thinking about ministry, or thinking about serving here, to come to the Diocese of Sheffield:
“It’s a really welcoming place. It’s a diocese where I felt at home right from the word go. My background wasn’t Church of England, but this is a place that embraces you. There is room for different talents, callings and traditions. You can make friends with people in ministry and feel well supported.”
“The concern for our welfare as ministers is taken seriously; our bishops and archdeacons are really looking after us. People know what you’re dealing with and what transitions you’re going through.”
“It’s important now to foster a sense of belonging following the pandemic, and to build people up again.”