Our Students: Joe Cooper

“I don’t suppose anyone really knows what to expect when they go into this. It has been incredibly difficult but it has also been one of the best things that I’ve done.”

Joe works full-time for Sheffield City Council in the environmental health department. He lives with his wife and their two children, and is training for ordination at Mirfield Teaching Centre.

“I’m usually working 6 days a week for my full-time job. I have 45 minutes study in the morning when I arrive early at the depot to beat the traffic. If I get time between meeting clients then I’ll get my books out and be reading in the car. When I get home I have family time. I help my wife get the boys fed, bathed, and into bed and then usually I’ll study for a couple of hours. Mondays to Thursdays are my study time but it’s very flexible.”

“I’ve always felt in my role at work that I have professional boundaries that I’m not able to overstep, but training has allowed me to visualise and reflect on things in such a different way. I work in environmental cleaning so we work with hoarders and extremely vulnerable people. It’s just allowed me to engage on a deeper level, and the things I have seen have complimented my studies. It’s been like the practical module in many respects. I’m grateful for the extra three years at work. It has allowed me to experience lots of different situations where you see life at its most desperate. It really is an important building block on some of the theology and on the academic side."

“There is a strong Wednesday night community at Mirfeld that is supplemented at weekends with folk from Barnabas and York Teaching Centre, but Wednesday evenings are very special. You’ve got a small cohort of people who worship with the brothers from the Community of the Resurrection, and within that there’s a community feel from those of us from St Hild College who feel it’s important and a privilege to represent our college there."

“I don’t suppose anyone really knows what to expect when they go into this. Whatever expectations I had have been surpassed. It has been incredibly difficult but it has also been one of the best things that I’ve done, in so many different ways. The opportunities it’s given me; the things I’ve learnt; the lecturers I’ve been able to listen to; and experiences like coming to Durham for Easter Week; worshipping with the brothers on a Wednesday night. It has been one of the best things I’ve done in my life.” 

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