Alice Kemp, life in all its fullness

First published 30th June 2010

Alice Kemp has had a challenging few years juggling training for ministry with caring for her disabled son and running a small business. Becoming a curate at her home church in Box, Wiltshire, will add another dimension to her busy but rewarding life.

Alice Kemps life has a theme of combining theory and practice and living life to the full.

She recognises the tension between ideas and reality and found that training for ministry helpfully explored that tension.

I have learned the value of theology and studying. It is important to understand what is the belief underpinning things we believe or do. But it is also important to recognise that I can never fully understand anything: there always comes a point where a leap of faith is required.

Doing my training on a part-time course meant that I was constantly putting what I was learning into practice in my church and the tension between ideas and reality is important.

A former special educational needs (SEN) teacher, Alice spends much of her life caring for her son, Francis, who has a triad of disabilities: autism, cerebral palsy and ehlers-danlos syndrome. Her daughter Phoebe also has a physical disability.

She has taken these experiences and applies them as a SEN parent representative on various school and Council bodies. She is also writing an MA Dissertation about faith and disability issues.

She also values the various relationships that her familys situation brings into their lives.

Having disabled children brings a large number of people into our lives in the shape of health professionals, social workers and carers. Francis current carers are all quite young and so my house is often full of young people.

Amazingly, Alice also makes time to sing classical music, rock music, musical theatre and is in a rock communion band. I love scrap-booking, she says. For the past four years I have run a small business teaching people how to tell their personal stories through album making.

Its been a challenging time but I have been supported every step of the way by my husband Andrew, daughter Phoebe and the congregation of St Thomas Becket, Box. Im excited about having more time to give to things in the parish. It is going to be another interesting challenge - I'm looking forward to it but not quite sure how it is all going to work.

It is probably going to be another of Alices leaps of faith.

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