‘Thank goodness the TAP Fund was there’

by
06 March 2015

ANDREW RACE grew up in Southern Africa, in Botswana and Zimbabwe, where his forebears had been "servants of Empire" for several generations. Whereas most of them had been in the military, or commerce, Andrew's own father was a clergyman, and he grew up in a family of faith "since as far back as I can remember".

The family returned to the UK when Andrew was 18. After university, he went into business, and subsequently set up his own marketing company. Now he is in his final year of training for the priesthood at Ripon College, Cuddesdon.

The suggestion of a vocation emerged "from a number of voices, from a number of different directions - through the Church, from friends at New Wine and elsewhere, and from business colleagues".

As a son of the vicarage, Andrew was "very familiar with the inside story of church life; so I certainly wasn't going into it with my eyes closed."

Even so, his first steps were tentative, not least because of the upheaval it would involve for his family. Andrew's wife works full-time, and is supporting the family while he is at college. To enable her to remain in her job, and to avoid disrupting their children's education, Andrew is a weekly boarder, dividing his time between college outside Oxford and their home in Derbyshire.

Unsurprisingly, the transition from two salaries to one means that the budget is tight: "Absolutely every penny is accounted for." Andrew is entirely dependent on his car, clocking up more than 350 miles each week to get to and from college, including a 40-mile round trip to a parish placement in the diocese on Sundays. When the car unexpectedly needed serious repairs, they made an application to the TAP Special Hardship Fund. "Thank goodness it was there. It made all the difference."

In July, Andrew will be ordained to a curacy in Littleover, in his home diocese. This time, the whole family will move; it will mean a reverse commute for his wife and children, but they will all be living under one roof again.

 

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