Church of England’s first female, South Asian priest shares her inspirational story
‘An inspirational testimonial story, courageously and devotedly shared.’
Alwin J Samuel, Bishop of Sialkot, Pakistan
When Amelia Jacobs was ordained in 1994, it was an intimidating experience. She was part of the first cohort of female priests to be ordained into the Church of England, and their ordination was not welcomed by everyone. Furthermore, she was the first to be ordained from Pakistan. But how had an unassuming young woman who had moved to the UK in an arranged marriage and unable to speak English become such a pioneer?
Born in Faisalabad, Amelia was raised a Christian in her grandfather’s vicarage, a man who had lost everything when he had converted from Hinduism. But when her arranged marriage brought her to London in her twenties, the challenges of a new language, culture and relationship saw her faith lapse. Yet the Lord spoke to her in prophetic dreams, and, when she finally turned back to Him, she was stunned to find herself called by Him to the priesthood.
Having trained initially for non-stipendiary ministry with Oak Hill Theological College, she was able to work as a deacon in north London. Here, she ministered to the Pakistani and other immigrant communities, before later working with families from all backgrounds after her ordination in 1994. Despite the resistance from some to women’s ordination, Amelia has not experienced any hostility within the Church, either for her ordination or her ethnicity, but when she returns to Pakistan her priestly role is still not recognised.
Amelia comments, ‘After ordination to the priesthood, I definitely felt the fulfilment of my calling to serve. Although it was a humbling experience to minister the words of the Lord from the altar, it was joyous to be recognised by the Anglican Communion.
‘My hope and prayer for the book is that it will encourage readers to step forward in faith to explore their callings to ministry, and to know that the Lord will take care of the rest, growing their faith and bringing them into a deeper relationship with Him, the Living God!’
Compelling, entertaining and eye-opening, The Priest from Pakistan is refreshingly candid about the challenges of family life, the immigrant experience and ministering as a woman in a man’s world. For anyone considering how they might serve the Lord, whatever their background, Amelia’s story is encouragement that there are no limits with God!
‘Incredible story of the transformative power of God’s Word to shape and direct our lives.’
Rev Manoj Raithatha, Minister of Pinner Baptist Church and Chair of the Board of the UK Evangelical Alliance
The Priest from Pakistan by Amelia Jacobs (ISBN: 9781912726639) is published by Instant Apostle and is available on 17th February 2023 from bookshops and online retailers. Biography, paperback, 192pp, £10.99.