CRAIG TOMLINSON joined the army when he was 16, and served for six years, before training to become a professional wrestler. He won two titles, and confesses to feeling “a little bit embarrassed” when looking back at photos of him in a singlet. He believes that wrestling taught him “the idea of performance, and being a slightly bigger character than you are. That means you are able to be a visible presence within the community.”
His work in the army, including serving in a humanitarian capacity, taught him how to “get alongside people”, he says.
Craig and his wife had approached a priest to discuss marriage and the baptism of their younger son. It was this priest who suggested ordination to him. He remembers having to spend ten minutes cleaning up the wine he spat all over the floor on hearing this.
But after seeing a video at a vocations day which explained that “Jesus calls people who are flawed. He doesn’t call the perfect,” he felt things slot into place “like a jigsaw”.
Craig Tomlinson was ordained deacon in Ripon Cathedral on 4 July. He is serving his title at St Mary the Virgin with St Paul the Apostle, Barnsley.