A priest told today how she became a woman of the cloth following a previous career — as a BOUNCER.
Rev Dr Julia Candy spent her student days dancing and drinking the night away, enjoying herself so much that she even took a job as a bouncer.
But now the 33-year-old has given up the late nights for a life of preaching at St Clement’s and St James’ Episcopal Church.
Rev Candy, who works at the church in Aberdeen, Scotland, said: “I was a very keen clubber during my student days in Belfast.
“I thought I was the best dancer and if you gave me a glass of wine I’d push people off the dancefloor.
“Then I started being a bouncer part time while I was studying because I needed some money and I loved being at the clubs.
“I was well over 20 stone at the time and when I was 17 or 18 I was really into clubbing, so it seemed like a perfect job.”
Rev Candy, who has a PhD in psychology, insists that being a priest isn’t any different to being a bouncer where she would regularly help drunken revellers and break up fights.
The priest, who is married to Aberdeen University research fellow, Guy Bennett-Hunter, said: “There are similarities.
“When you’re dealing with drunk people a lot of the emotions can come out and they find themselves in a very low place and not sure what to do with their life.
“It helps if you’re a woman too because men respond to you more and if two women are causing a bit of trouble I think it’s easier for a female bouncer to break it up.
“Some girls would be fighting over a man and others would have had too much to drink.
“I looked after them and let them know that they were special and not worthless.
“As a bouncer you can go and talk to them to help and I think that’s what I do as a Priest too.
“Yes, I now deal with happy situations like weddings and baptisms, but also when there’s sadness when someone’s been made redundant or there’s been a bereavement and you can walk alongside them and give them support.”
Despite Rev Candy’s student years being dominated by loud music and alcohol, she had always been a Christian and wanted to become a priest at the age of just 14.
She said: “For a long time I had this sense of calling to be a priest but I kept it quite quiet because I assumed I would be rubbish at it and I thought people like me don’t become priests.
“But once I told people I was thinking about it, they said it was obvious that I would be good at it.
“I suppose I don’t fit the stereotype of a priest, so that’s why I’d never had the courage to say so before.
“It became an itch that I wanted to go away. I hoped the Church would come back to me me and say you’re a good Christian, but there’s no way you’re a Priest and then that would be the end of it.
“But when they said ‘yes’ I couldn’t believe it and that was when I firmly believed I could do it.
“I had my first Mass in Aberdeen last month and it went very smoothly.
“I have been priest at one other church in Durham and during my first Mass up here I sometimes felt myself go into Church of England mode and saying the wrong thing.
“I could feel everyone looking at me, but it was fine in the end.
“I worried whether they would get my sense of humour because my last church understood it and I was worried people might not get it elsewhere, but thankfully they do.”