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ENGINEERING Career Was 'God's Way Of Getting Ann Ready To Be A Minister'

A GOUROCK mum who was so shy when she left school that she "didn't have the nerve to go to university and could never have imagined speaking in public" has become minister at Inchinnan Parish Church.

The Rev Ann Knox said that her 18-year career in the engineering department at the National Semiconductor factory in Greenock gave her the confidence she needed for the ministry. She started out as an engineering aide and rose to become a supervisor before leaving to study.

"I grew to be able to stand up for myself, talk to people and take decisions," Ann said."I think it was God's way of getting me ready for ministry."

Ann (52), who grew up within the congregation of St John's in Gourock, said her faith led her to a vocations conference in 2005. But with three children under the age of 12, she did not feel it was the right time to start studying for a university degree and to complete all the requirements for ordination.

"I thought I wanted a sign from God showing me that he wanted me to become a minister," she said. Then in 2007, she was reading the book Disappointment with God by best-selling evangelical author Phillip Yancey and was struck by a passage about God's silence with Joseph and Moses. Three days later, when the same subject came up at an elders' conference, she says everything just clicked into place.

"I had the overwhelming sense that God was telling me, 'I've asked and you have to answer. You're not getting a sign.'" Ann said.

Training for ministry turned out to be everything she had hoped for and she values the encouragement she has received from mentors and supervisors and also from her fellow ministers in training and her probation supervisor, the Rev Karen Harbison, minister at Westburn, Greenock.

"I learned something new at every new placement," said Ann. "I appreciate all the guidance I have had. God takes you places where he wants you to go. I definitely felt that the timing turned out to be perfect."

Ann has a daughter who is 22 and sons aged 15 and 17. She loves walking Molly the family dog and is a bit of a rugby fanatic: "I support Greenock Wanderers, Glasgow Warriors and of course our Scottish national team."

She didn't know much about the Inchinnan parish before finding out the church was looking for a minister. But when she visited in September 2016, she quickly developed a strong bond with the congregation and the parish.

“The thing that attracted me to Inchinnan was the people. There is a really good mix with a lot of young people, as well as the older generations, and I’m looking forward very much to trying to help them all grow in their faith. Everyone has been very kind and friendly and I feel very much at home here," said Ann.

"The Inchinnan congregation is very much aware of the past and its traditions -- the church can trace its history back to 597 AD, and although the building is new it includes artefacts like sculptured stones from the old church which date back to 900 AD, as well as a pulpit, font and communion table that, along with the beautiful old stained glass windows, are 600 years old.

"So church members have this sense of faith enduring over the centuries, yet at the same time they are very keen to move forward and spread out with our Christian message of love."

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