The Revd Dr Rosie Stacy exudes an aura of sincerity and kindness that we so need just now
An occasional series of portraits of Creative Coquetdale Folk by Katie Scott – this week, the Revd Dr Rosie Stacy: musician and writer, educator, and ordained priest.
Rosie is an extraordinary woman; a born educator and a great communicator who uses words thoughtfully. I’ve been struck by her writing when she reads poetry at an event which I host in Rothbury each month. I wanted to find out more about her.
Rosie and her family moved from Leicester to Nuthall, Nottinghamshire, for her father’s teaching post at Eastwood Grammar School, when she was eight. She loved the large new garden: ‘I was a mini Gerald Durrell, crawling around on the grass looking at beetles’. Her parents recognised and encouraged her love of nature and interest in science.
Rosie’s family was Christian, and in Nottingham they joined the Methodist church, where she was soon leading worship, giving her first sermon at 13 years of age. I ask her what career path she considered.
“I always wanted to be a doctor. I used to read medical dictionaries for pleasure! However, I ended up studying biology at the University of East Anglia. I was in my element. It was an integrated degree, studying: biology, animals, genetics, DNA. It was such an exciting time.”
She was thrilled to find that the university choir was run by Sir Philip Ledger. Joining taught Rosie a great deal about singing. At university she met her husband, Graham Stacy. They, along with another friend, sang and played music, including to the residents of the local psychiatric hospital. “The patients really came alive when we played.” Rosie then completed a teaching certificate, “I loved it. I felt I was a born teacher.” For two years Rosie and Graham taught in Sierra Leone.
On returning to the UK, Rosie studied for a masters degree in Ecology while Graham did a social work qualification. Moving to Morpeth in 1981, and having three children, changed the direction of Rosie’s career. After meeting a variety of inspirational women, she ended up researching adult education, including feminist courses, for her PhD. She met Sandra Kerr, and joined Wercasfolk Choir.
Rosie became a Research Associate, later lecturer, at Newcastle University. All the things she had learned up to now seemed to coalesce into her new role. She was teaching doctors about inequalities in health; looking at the social determinants of well-being. “My life has meandered; I’ve met and been engaged with experts in many fields. Music, singing and writing have always been important.”
After finding a house with a large garden, and drawn by the magnificent views, Rosie and Graham settled in Coquetdale, in 2001. One day she had wonderful and extraordinary experience, “I felt spoken to,” she said.
Rosie started to go to church, first at Holystone, then at Alnwinton. Then followed ‘Discernment’ which led to her becoming an Ordained Local Minister, licensed to her home parish. ‘I felt this was my calling’.
Rosie exudes an aura of sincerity and kindness that we so need just now. She and Graham perform together as ‘Chantry’ and as part of a group called ‘The Sturdy Beggars’. She sings in the Coquetdale Chamber Choir. Rosie writes poetry, which she often performs at the monthly Rothbury Poetry, Writing and Music event. For more information, email [email protected]