Twins give up design jobs for new church roles
By Keith Morris
2010: Norwich-based newspaper graphic designer James Paton is giving up his job after 17 years to become a Baptist Minister in Ipswich, just beating his identical twin brother Scott, also a newspaper graphic designer, to the same ambition.
The unusual move is just the latest in a long line of amazing brotherly coincidences which the 45-year-old duo have shared over the years.
James, who works for Archant Norfolk on its portfolio of newspapers, said: “I was born 20 minutes before Scott and the rivalry has gone on ever since. At the age of eight we both became Christians on exactly the same day and were both baptized on the same day at the age of 16.
"We took our driving tests on the same day, but unfortunately I went first and failed, whereas Scott passed. The worst thing was being driven around by him in the car until I did pass.
“My golf handicap was four, whereas Scott’s was seven. The friendly rivalry also included girls, as we always liked the same ones.
“We both trained at the Gray’s School of Art and we have both been in very similar jobs ever since, myself with Archant Norfolk in the editorial, promotions and now ad production departments and Scott with the Aberdeen Press and Journal in Scotland.”
When James was thinking about a change in career direction a couple of years ago, the very same thoughts were going through Scott’s mind. Scott went part-time in his newspaper role to study part-time at the Scottish Baptist College. James, meanwhile, has studied for the ministry at the Suffolk Preachers Seminary in his spare time for four years.
“I have been preaching in churches across Norfolk and Suffolk for the past 11 years,” said James, “and most Sundays I am travelling to a Baptist or evangelical church to take services.
“The Seminary course has opened doors to preach in a number of different Suffolk churches including Zoar Baptist Church in Ipswich, where I preached a couple of times before receiving a phone call that the membership would like to consider me as their pastor."
James leaves Archant Norfolk on August 12 and will become the full-time minister at Zoar a couple of weeks later. He has been an elder at the 250-strong Surrey Chapel evangelical church in Norwich for the past two years.
“I am both excited and frightened at the prospect,” said James, who will be moving to Ipswich with his wife Jackie and children Robert (15) and Rebecca (11).
“Preaching to the same people twice a week will be very different to preaching to a different congregation once a week and I have taught myself to touch-type to help keep up with the work-load.
“I am also looking forward to the people-orientated side of the work and not just being on a computer all day.”
The congregation at Zoar is around 75-strong with African, Swedish and Indian nationalities represented.
“I have enjoyed working for Archant and will miss the people and the good atmosphere in our department but I am really looking forward to the challenge ahead,” he said.
Pictured above are James (right) and Scott Paton.