I'm Helen Penfold and I've been in the circuit for 9 years, firstly at Heanor and Langley Mill and now in the Matlock section. I was born into the Methodist church and both my grandfathers were local preachers, as were an aunt, two cousins and a sister. A great uncle was a minister many years ago. Although I have always attended church, I committed my life to Jesus in a youth fellowship meeting when it hit me powerfully that I had to have a personal faith and that Jesus was and is real. I became a local preacher in the Mansfield Circuit and a lay worker at Warsop and Meden Vale before candidating, where I met my husband Julian. We still joke that I married him because it saved me buying all the study books for the course! I've lived in Derbyshire all my life, on a farm, and Julian is an Associate Priest in the Alfreton area.
As far as family is concerned, I have a sister and several nieces and nephews, with whom I love to spend time and Julian has a son and grandchildren. At home we have dogs, cats, chickens, an elderly goose and each morning we check on cattle on the farm. We enjoy walking in the countryside, swimming and going to the cinema and theatre. Julian is a keen photographer, so we enjoy going to new places for him to do that.
During the restrictions brought about because of Covid-19 we have missed being out and about as much as usual in the churches and do hope that we will soon be able to be amongst you all soon. During lockdown we have both been volunteer chaplains at a local hospital to help liaise between patients and families and be a friendly non-medical face for people who would like to chat.