Rev'd Nick Barr-Hamilton: Anglican Paracleric
The Reverend Nick Barr-Hamilton will win no medals and receive no adulation as he takes up his post as Vicar of St George, Fatfield, Washington, in the Diocese of Durham. But a paracleric deserves just as much admiration as a paralympian, even if the Paralympics move and inspire us more than the Paracclesia Anglicana ever will.
A wheelchair-user, Nick was severely injured playing rugby as a teenager and says the experience eventually brought him to the Ministry. He said: “As a teenager, I was highly active, playing rugby at north midlands division level and working towards the Duke of Edinburgh Gold award. I was an NCO in the Army Cadets and was keen to join the Marines. However, when I was 16, I broke my neck playing rugby. The spinal injury put a stop to my outward bound activities and plans, and also turned me very much against God for a time.
“At University, I made some Christian friends with whom I spent over a year arguing against Christianity. I was studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge at the time and the more I looked into how everything works, the more I became convinced that there must be a Creator, a designer behind evolution.
“Eventually, I ran out of arguments against the person of Jesus and, after a realisation that there is more to life than just the here and now, God brought me to give my life to Jesus.
“After University, I spent a year unemployed, finally ending up in London as a fund manager. I became very involved in a church near where I worked and after several years of leading Bible studies, evangelistic groups and helping in pastoral work, a friend thought I should consider full time ministry.”
After his City job came to an end in 2003, he was given the opportunity to work unpaid as a parish assistant in Hull for two years and went forward to be selected for Ordination. After three years studying at theological college, he became a Curate in Middlesbrough and how has been given his own parish.
He said: “My biggest challenges have been the obvious struggles of achieving, particularly when I was in education then working on the City, despite the prejudice and physical obstacles that a full-time wheelchair user faces, as well as simply keeping going when life gets hard because of pain and frustrations with a dysfunctional body.”
One of his key passions is young people. He said: “The work of which I am most proud is youth work and working with children, which I love. The difference a real faith makes to young people’s lives is hugely encouraging. During my work in Ministry, I hope to help people see the ongoing relevance and love of Christ in all that we do as a church and that everyone will live sacrificially and considerately, creating strong community and hope where there are many difficulties and daily struggles.
“What gets me out of bed in the morning is the knowledge that life can far too easily be a meaningless race without time to take stock and constantly chasing after things that we cannot keep, and often lose far too easily. It’s about knowing that Jesus really can offer something far greater than we often even desire.”
As you watch our Paralympians rise to inspire a generation of disabled children to achieve glory with their broken bodies, remember this Paracleric is healing broken souls. His medal is in heaven.