Her working life began as a student nurse in St Thomas’ Hospital, London. She went on to train as a midwife before becoming a Sister Counsellor in a Health Centre in Telford New Town where she worked with clients struggling with psychological problems, and used various hypnotic techniques to help patients cope with chronic pain.
Ruth left nursing in 1985 and, for a while, dabbled in calligraphy, freelance journalism (writing for national nursing journals), and local broadcasting, while experiencing two miscarriages and contemplating ordination. Her daughter, Freya, was born in 1988. In 1989 Ruth began training as a priest, was deaconed in 1992, and ordained priest with the first women in the Church of England in 1994. She worked in a team of 3 churches in Richmond, Surrey, for 8 years while also training and performing in mime and physical theatre, gaining a first class honours degree in theology, an MA in Systematic Theology (King’s College, London), and becoming increasingly involved in interfaith dialogue and broadcasting for BBC Radio’s 2, 4 and World Service.
To make ends meet Ruth also worked as a clown magician for children’s parties, during which time she learnt to fire-eat. After 3 more miscarriages my son, Tian, was born in 1996.
Her interfaith work has involved lecturing at Leo Baeck College for Rabbis, conducting services of blessing with a Rabbi colleague for Jewish-Christian couples, spending 8 days in Auschwitz, cycling from Rome to Jerusalem, sleeping rough on the streets of London, lecturing at Windsor Castle in the presence of HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan and the Duke of Edinburgh. She has also run workshops on conflict for an annual international gathering of Jews, Christians and Muslims in Germany, and provided a fire-eating a blessing at a Jewish wedding in New Jersey.
Her broadcasting work includes ‘Pause for Thought', and ‘Good Morning Sunday’ slots on Radio 2, ‘Prayer for the Day’ and ‘The Moral Maze’ on Radio 4, and programmes on Native American pow-wows, the symbolism of colour, walking the labyrinth, and dramatic meditations for World Service.
Two of her scripts have been acted by Fiona Shaw and Patrick Malahide on Radio 4 and she has had articles published in a number of journals and papers including the Guardian.
For some years she have spent time in monasteries and convents working as a facilitator for various Anglican Religious Orders. More recently she has become involved in conflict transformation work in the prison context and in Northern Ireland.
At present she is writing the biography of an ex-Loyalist paramilitary who spent 13 years in the Maze for murder, and now works internationally with the victims and perpetrators of political conflict. He is her most important teacher in the field of conflict transformation.
To keep her feet on the ground, two days a week Ruth works as Chaplain to 140 almshouse residents, the youngest of whom are in their 70’s.