The Rt Rev Justin Welby was working as an oil executive when he became "unable to get away from a sense of God calling".
Twenty-five years later, in 2012, he is to be named the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.
He was made a deacon in 1992 after training for ordained ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham where he took a degree in theology, serving later as a curate in Nuneaton.
He rose through the church ranks to become the Dean of Liverpool before he was named as the Bishop of Durham, a role he held for less than a year before being named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Rt Rev Welby and his wife Caroline have had six children, one of whom - their seven-month-old daughter and first-born, Johanna - died in a car crash in France in 1983.
More top news
MI5 has reportedly launched two urgent inquiries into how it missed the danger posed by the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi.
Helicopters are searching for survivors who may be marooned after a weekend of heavy rain.
Thousands of people attended a protest on Copacabana Beach to demand presidential elections as pressure mounts on Brazil's leader to resign.