Ex Mining Engineer swaps hard hat and davy lamp for a clerical collar.
(Picture: Keith Blundy)

An ex-mining engineer will be ordained as a Priest in the Church of England Diocese of Durham in Durham Cathedral on the 1st July 2018.

Seventy-two-year-old David Bond, who becomes a Priest at South Hetton, follows his calling to priestly ministry after a lifetime working as a mining engineer.

David was raised in Seaham, Co Durham and, due to childhood illness, lost two years of education. He started work at Dawdon Colliery at the age of 15.

After 10 years’ day release study from work he gained an HNC in Mining Engineering then, following an examination in Mining Legislation, gained a Colliery Undermanagers certificate.

He was appointed Ventilation Officer at Vane Tempest Colliery then promoted to Assistant Area Ventilation Engineer covering the North East Area Coal Field. He transferred to Westoe Colliery during the rundown of the industry, taking redundancy in December 1993.

After studying on the Access to Higher Education Course in Durham, he was accepted for a place at New College, Edinburgh to study for a BD. He graduated in 1999 and served as Verger at St Columba’s by the Castle before returning home in January 2000.

He said: “In the mid to late 1980s I had a very powerful spiritual experience that changed my life. I became aware that all my sins were at the foot of the cross and that the slate was wiped clean. People noticed a difference in me and later I began to give my Testimony to workmen underground.  Following this event, and redundancy from the mining industry, I believed that God was calling me to the ordained ministry.

“I failed to get through the Diocesan Selection Process. Looking back I recognise that I was not ready. However, I had an overwhelming desire to study the Scriptures in greater depth and on the advice from people at the Diocese studied for a Bachelor of Divinity. On my return from Edinburgh in 2000 and on the advice of the Incumbent I re-tested my vocation to the ordained ministry, but failed again to get through the Diocesan Selection Process. Again I recognise that I was not ready. I was accepted to train as a Reader, allowed to study for one year only. I served in this capacity for 15 years and was licensed to conduct funerals.

“Recently other people suggested that I go for ordination. Following Mission South Hetton 2016 I went through the process a third time and was successful.

“Taking a completely new direction from mining engineering to study theology was extremely difficult, but there was never any doubt in my mind about my eventual success as I firmly believed that I was being obedient to God, and that he would see me through.

“My present challenge is promoting the Gospel in a community devastated by colliery closures and in a society whose interest in church is largely non-existent. We are fortunate we have people in our congregation full of enthusiasm for the Lord keen to reach out into the community.”