Jill Baker

Photograph of Jill Baker

​Born in Wolverhampton to a family both steeped in Methodism and committed to walking in the countryside, Jill’s life has since taken her across many miles both within Britain and further afield. After studying Theology at Durham University, Jill married Andrew, then a Maths teacher, but later a Methodist minister. Together with their two sons, Tim and Peter, their first appointment was in the South Caribbean as mission partners – eight remarkable and very formative years for the whole family. On returning to the UK in 2001, Jill trained as a Methodist Local Preacher and found great joy in studying the Bible in new ways, especially tracing the stories of women in the Old Testament. She described the preaching ministry as keeping her sane, during the challenging years of caring for elderly parents while the family grappled with readjusting to life in Britain, and she later went on to become both circuit and district tutor for Local Preachers’ studies. During these years, Jill also helped to guide the Methodist women’s movement into a new phase and became the first president of ‘Methodist Women in Britain’ in 2011.

The great tragedy of Peter’s suicide at the age of 18 in 2012 changed each member of the family – and beyond – significantly. Learning to live ‘around’ such loss led Jill towards pilgrimage as a spiritual practice, and visits to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne off the northeast coast of England provided new perspectives on God and on faith and enabled some measure of recovery and healing. She began taking groups of women on regular pilgrimages there in 2014, and subsequently led or co-led pilgrimages to Palestine/Israel; in Rome and in Scotland, as well as leading retreats and conferences around the theme of pilgrimage—both outward and inward. Jill continued to act in various volunteer roles within the Methodist Church both locally and nationally and was the Vice-President of the Methodist Conference in 2017-18, then the chair of the Methodist Council for the subsequent four years. She values enormously the support and prayer which the Methodist Church has given her and her family in many different ways, and (whilst having her fair share of frustrations about church life!) loves Methodism and believes it offers a distinctive and important voice to the landscape of faith and belief today. In Scotland, where she has lived since 2015, the Methodist Church is very small and some of the challenges are sharper, but the spirit of welcome and inclusion which characterizes Methodism is alive and well.

Jill also finds great solace in gardening, especially amongst the mountains of their Highland cottage, and enjoys reading and writing. She has previously published devotional books for Advent and Lent and the story of Peter’s life and blogs occasionally.

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