Joan Robinson

Joan Robinson
Joan  Robinson, 50, moves from her post at St Mary the Virgin, Whickham, to become Curate at St Cuthbert’s, Blaydon/Holy Trinity, Swalwell. The single mother said: “I was brought up as a Catholic, with three sisters and one brother, with little money but a great deal of love.  The family has extended to eleven grandchildren, for my parents who celebrate fifty -eight years of marriage this year.  Plus there are husbands/wives/partners and we remain a close family. “I left school at sixteen and started work at Dunlop Ltd, as well as attending night classes in secretarial and business studies.  I was made redundant at the age of twenty -four and worked at an engineering company for a brief  while. “ I started working for a temp agency and then Northumbria Police for fourteen years. During that period I married and had my children.  I left when my second son was born and studied for a GCSE in English and two years as a teaching assistant, winning an award. “I have been divorced for nine years and live at home with my two sons, Sam who is twenty and Ben who is thirteen and they are my great joy.  My entire family, have been very supportive throughout my training and my catholic sister takes a weeks holiday in order to help look after Ben, when I am away at Summer School. “ I came to St Mary’s C of E as a parent/volunteer with the children and I immediately felt at home.  I started attending St Mary’s when my marriage was coming to an end and found great strength in all that God and the community gave me. “I was accepted into the Church of England on 10th March 2005 when my eldest son was confirmed. During this period I was going through my divorce and was having counseling and I went on a silent retreat for four days to St Oswald’s, in Whitby.  This was an important part of my journey.  I had time to clear out the clutter, learn to forgive and move on and most importantly to hear God’s voice. People commented that I had returned a different person.   “The challenge has been trying to juggle being a single mum, working, housework and trying to complete modules.“I  am also not an academic so there has been challenge in the learning environment, but with challenge comes transformation and trust in God.  That is something that grows. I hadn’t preached before or led worship, but those challenges have proved to be great joy.” She added: “I will be serving as a curate in one of the most deprived parts of the county and country, according to the church urban website. I have worked in Blaydon West Primary School for nine years and have seen the bridges that have been built between church and community during the past number of years with Rev Thorp and the positive affect they have had. There is a great opportunity for church to reach out into the community even more.”

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