Ministry across the diocese will be strengthened this July as twenty men and women are ordained as deacons and begin their ministry as Assistant Curates at a variety of parishes. They include a retired GP, a former actor and puppeteer, a care home manager, and a waste management adviser with Calderdale Council. There is an international feel to the ordinations, with a German tutor and ordinands who began life in South Africa, New Zealand and Canada.
The new deacons will be ordained at Petertide, on July 1st at services in Bradford Cathedral, led by the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines. The service for those serving in Leeds and Wakefield Episcopal Areas will take place at 11am, while the service for those serving in Huddersfield, Bradford and Ripon Episcopal Areas will be at 3pm.
On Saturday 24 June 24 deacons were ordained as priests at services in each of the five Episcopal Area where they are serving as curates. The priesting services all went successfully and were held at Ripon Cathedral, Leeds Minster, Bradford Cathedral, Dewsbury Minster and Wakefield Cathedral.
Pictured outside Leeds Minster with Bishop Paul are new priests, from left, Sonia Kasibante, Hanna Livesley, Jimmy Lawrence, Kathryn Elliot and Alison Battye.
More details about those made priests on 24 June here
The diocese is being encouraged to pray for its new deacons and priests using an ‘Ember Card’, being distributed across the diocese. Download the card as a PDF here.
Pray for those being ordained deacons
Being ordained at Bradford Cathedral, 11am, July 1st
To serve the Leeds Area
Bob Bailey will be serving as Assistant Curate in the Elmete Trinity Benefice. His training incumbent will be the Revd Andy Nicholson. The Benefice comprises the Parishes of All Saints, Barwick in Elmet, St Philip's, Scholes and St Peter's, Thorner, within the Leeds Episcopal Area. Bob trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall, St. John’s College, Durham, reading for a Diploma in Theology and Mission. He is married to Jess and has three young children, Jacob, Reuben and Rose. Bob was born in Suffolk but has spent his working life in West Yorkshire as a Parish Administrator, Graphic Designer and Web Developer. His first degree in Leeds was a B.A. (Hons) in Graphic Design, specialising in Illustration. His interests and hobbies include art and music. He has strong connections with Hilfield Youth Camp (SSF).
Chris Baxfield will serve in the parish of Moor Allerton and Shadwell after training for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, where he read for a Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission. Chris is married to Rachel and they have a one and a half year-old son, Henry. Originally from the west coast of Canada, he came to the UK in 2006 to spend some time in academia, completing a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science at Leeds. Prior to ordination, he worked for five years as a housing support worker for St George’s Crypt. He and Rachel look forward to returning to Leeds, partially because they see themselves as avid hill walkers… although, truth be told, strolls with strategically-placed tearooms and good high-chair facilities are as important.
Angela Birkin will serve in the parish of St Michael and All Angels, Headingley, within the Headingley Team Ministry after training for ordination at St Hild College (formerly the Yorkshire Ministry Course), where she read for a Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission. Angela is married to Mark, who is director of the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics in the University of Leeds, and they have two adult children; Laura, who lives and works in Pennsylvania, USA with her husband Charlie, and Tom, who lives and works in Reading. Prior to ordination Angela was a Reader in the former Diocese of Bradford, and from 1986 to 2013 she worked as a GP in a busy urban practice in Leeds. Following her retirement as a GP she worked part-time in her former practice as a clinical administrator until the end of March 2017.Angela’s hobbies include visiting art galleries, watching performances by Northern Ballet, going to the theatre, and doing Pilates.
Claire Corley will serve her curacy in the parish of St Edmunds in Roundhay, Leeds. She and her husband Sam have three children, Nathanael, Martha and Micah, and also share their house with a variety of animals! Prior to training with the Yorkshire Ministry Course, Claire was Head of the Humanities Faulty at a Secondary School in the Lake District. Claire has a passion for mentoring young leaders and every summer she and Sam lead residential holidays for young people. Claire loves the outdoors, anything historical and is particularly partial to great food, shared with friends.
Dan Ross – Christ Church Upper Armley. Dan will serve in the parish of Christ Church, Upper Armley, having trained for ordination at Ridley Hall in Cambridge where he read for an MA. Dan is married to Amy (who is his 'green conscience') and they have one son, Caleb. Life before ordination was varied: Dan originally trained as an economist and worked in consultancy; trained at Bible College and worked in a church; and worked for Christians Against Poverty in Bradford. Originally from New Zealand, Dan enjoys warm weather and beaches (hello, Leeds!), but hill walking is great too. Pastimes include football, running, and exploring how God is working in different cultures.
Rolf Mason will serve in the parish of St Luke the Evangelist (Beeston Hill & Holbeck, Leeds) after training for ordination at Ripon College Cuddesdon where he read for a MTh in Applied Theology (read being the operative word: lots of reading, little writing). Rolf is married to Jen and they have two boys (Elijah, 6 and Barnaby, 2). Prior to ordination he worked as a Chaplain in Further Education, serving the FE colleges in West Yorkshire. Before that he worked in adult education. He moved to Yorkshire in 2000 to help Robin Gamble and team in the Cock & Bottle, Bradford. Sent from Pudsey Parish Church, Rolf helped lead worship, facilitate a cell group and avoided PCC meetings (no more!) Hobbies include over-use of humour, theology (particularly mission and worship), walking, real-ale (after walking), but mostly music: musician, singer, listening to music, discovering new music (of all genres), DJ, gig-goer…will be going to Holbeck
To serve the Wakefield Area
Rod Walker will serve in the Parish of St Giles with St Mary, Pontefract, after training at St Hild’s College, Mirfield. He studied for a diploma in Ministry and Theology with Durham University. Rod is married to Diane, he has two well balanced and beautiful step-daughters Chantelle and Natalie, and a four- legged furry friend called Harvey. He will be a self -supporting minister and will continue to be involved in the running of the care home ‘Carleton Court’ which he and Diane have managed and owned for the last seventeen years. Rod says he has always been a ‘late starter’, coming to faith at thirty five, fortunate enough to marry Diane at fifty and ordained at fifty seven. Hobbies, what are they?! Rod says that he loves people, in all their complexities, always a good thing for a minister. He looks forward to serving God and his people with humility, born out of life experience and grace found only in following Jesus.
Erik Peeters will serve in the parish of St George’s Lupset and St James’ Thornes after training for ordination at St Hild College where he read for an MA. Erik is married to Birgit and they have two sons: Janik (11) and Kaleb (8). Prior to ordination Erik worked in a variety of jobs, most recently as an administrator for St Barnabas Theological Centre and before that as assistant pastor in Leeds Vineyard. Erik reads rather a lot across history, politics, Sci-Fi/fantasy and literary fiction and has a keen interest in football, especially FC Barcelona and his home club: Malmelodi Sundowns. He also enjoys spending time with friends (old and new) and family playing board games, going for walks and having conversations over a pint.
Peter Clapham – All Saints and St Thomas Featherstone. As a younger man, I was an actor and a puppeteer including a brief role as an extra on Brookside. More recently, I have lived with my wife Jill in the south of Pontefract for nearly ten years. Between us we have six grown up children and four grandchildren. Together, we are members of Pontefract Choral Society and have enjoyed singing in many concerts with them over the last few years. As a self-supporting minister (SSM) I will still continue my secular employment in the construction industry. I can only thank my employer Sir Robert McAlpine for their continued understanding, flexibility and encouragement over the last three years of theological training. I am very much looking forward to serving my curacy in St Thomas Purston and All Saints Featherstone.
Monika Doering will serve in the Benefice of West Barnsley after training for ordination at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, where she read for a B.A. (Durham). Monika is married to Jonathan and they have one son, Noah, aged eight. Prior to ordination she was a congregant at Wakefield Cathedral, during which time she worked as a German tutor and ran a Cathedral project with asylum seekers in the city. Her hobbies include walking, gardening, reading, and arts and crafts.
Mark Burns will serve as a curate at St Mary the Virgin, Barnsley Parish Church. Mark studied theology at a theological college in Edgbaston. Mark came back to Barnsley, married Sue a nurse and gained an MA in Theology and Religious Studies from Leeds University, part-time. Mark will continue to work in hospital chaplaincy while serving as a curate. Mark and Sue have a fourteen year old daughter, Emma who is a keen footballer. Mark enjoys TV, listening to radio 4, and military history.
Being ordained at Bradford Cathedral, July 1 at 3pm
To serve the Bradford Area
Gareth Howles is delighted to be coming to serve in the parish of St Mary’s Burley-in-Wharfedale, after training at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. Gareth is married to Naomi and they have four children; Lydia aged 13, Sebastian aged 11, Vincent aged 6 and Wilfred aged 1. Prior to ordination Gareth was the Children and Youth Minister at Pudsey Parish Church for 9 years. He loves all sport, especially playing and watching football, (but he will equally enjoy watching tiddlywinks or fishing) and enjoys getting away with his family in their caravan, going for long drives with Naomi, going to the pub with his friends to win the quiz or beat them at pool, and having people round for meals so he can try out new recipes.
Derek Jones will serve in the parish of St Oswald’s and All Saints, Little Horton, after training for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham and studying for a Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission. Derek is married to Helen and they have two children, Reuben (9) and Matilda (6). Before moving to Durham to train, Derek worked with young people in Bradford for the Christian charity e:merge, as well as helping lead young people’s work and supporting the church’s youth-worker at the family’s sending church of Holy Trinity, Idle. Derek has a passion for community and for seeing God at work in the lives of people within those communities, and is looking forward to coming back to Bradford. The family are excited to be part of a new community at St. Oswald’s and All Saints. Derek also loves riding all types of bikes, and is looking forward to having the Yorkshire Dales so close again!
To serve the Ripon Area
James Handley will serve in the parish of Harrogate St Mark, after training for ordination at St Hild, where he read for a BA. James is married to Anna, who works as a GP in Harrogate, and they have two children; Ben (aged 13) and Tom (aged 6). James grew up in London, where he studied and then worked in computing, before moving to Yorkshire in 2000. After a spell as an academic at the University of Leeds, he now work works in Harrogate, still in software. He will be serving as a Self Supporting Minister, whilst continuing in his current job four days a week. James' hobbies include photography, reading, and music.
Abbie Palmer will serve in the parish of Pannal with Beckwithshaw. Abbie has been involved in ministry in the Leeds area for several years, having worked as service manager at the Universities Chaplaincy in Leeds and as a Reader at St Chad’s Church in Headingley. Prior to ordination she worked briefly as a music teacher and then for 11 years in various roles in and around the University of Leeds. She studied for a BA at St Hild College based in Mirfield, with contextual training including two-year placements at Leeds Church Institute and Holy Trinity Church, Meanwood. Abbie is married to Steve and they have two boys; Alistair (aged 10) and James (aged 7). Abbie loves baking and creating with the boys, walking, singing and photography. As a fan of real ale, she is also delighted to be going to a benefice which holds an annual beer festival.
Caitlin Carmichael-Davis – Ripon Cathedral. Caitlin will serve in the parish of the Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid, Ripon after training for ordination at Ripon College Cuddesdon where she read for a BA and Mst in theology at the University of Oxford. Prior to ordination she was a teacher with Teach First in a deprived area of Bradford. Her hobbies include music, theatre and cooking.
Alex Wheatley will serve in the parish of Christ Church, Skipton with St. Mary’s, Carleton in Craven. He completed his training for ordination at Westcott House where he read for a BA in Theology, Ministry and Mission through Durham University. Alex got engaged to his partner of over two years Emily Jones in October and they are planning to marry in late July 2018. At the time of writing Emily is looking for work in Yorkshire and preparing to move to Leeds. They met at his sending church St. Michael and All Angels', Headingley. Prior to training, Alex worked in a number of temporary admin jobs and before this as the Student Outreach Worker at the Universities Chaplaincy in Leeds. He enjoys walking, science fiction, real ale and hopes to take up scuba diving again after a long break from the sport.
To serve the Huddersfield Area
Michelle Petch will serve in the parish of Holy Trinity and St Jude, Halifax after training for ordination on the Contextual Pathway at St Hild College, Mirfield, where she studied for a BA in Theology, Ministry and Mission. Michelle is married to Darrin, and they have two grown up children, Rebekkah and Asher, and a grandson Reuben, age 1, with another grandchild on the way. Prior to ordination Michelle was Reader at St Martin’s, Brighouse, and also worked as a church children and family worker. Her hobbies include walking with two lively Jack Russell dogs, and visiting the theatre, especially to see musicals.
Stephanie Hunter will serve in the Benefice of Cumberworth, Denby, Denby Dale and Shepley in the Kirkburton Deanery. Steph studied for a Graduate Diploma and a Post-Graduate Certificate at Ripon College Cuddesdon, where she also served a term as secretary of the student body. Steph is married to Andrew and they have one very friendly Staffordshire bull terrier cross called Skye. Steph first started exploring her vocation to ordained ministry a couple of months before beginning study theology at the University of Aberdeen. After university, Steph spent a year on a church internship programme in the Diocese of Sodor and Man, and then spent the next year working for an international financial institution and getting married before moving to Cuddesdon and beginning study. Steph enjoys cooking, especially for others, and playing board games.
Yvonne Hagan (pictured on the left with her slightly taller twin sister) will serve in the Parish of Mixenden and Illingworth as Assistant curate after training for ordination. As a self-supporting minister Yvonne will balance her curacy with full time employment as a waste and recycling advisor for Calderdale council. She has two grown up children a daughter Collette and a Son Jordan. Her hobbies revolve around socialising with friends and family going to the cinema, walking in the countryside and dining out. Yvonne also enjoys listening to music and dancing with the curtains closed.
Pray for those being ordained as priests on June 24
Revd Alison Battye My deacon’s year at St Mary’s Whitkirk has been challenging, exciting, fulfilling – and fun. I have been humbled by the way being an ordained person enables me to enter into people’s lives. People share their stories and are often open to prayer. Taking funerals is a privilege and has shown me the power of the role of ordained minister and of the Church’s liturgy to bring comfort and hope. Some highlights of the year have been leading a Lent course on the dialogue between science and faith, and seeing our young people grow into leaders for a new children’s group. Perhaps the most moving has been experiencing the church’s year afresh through the liturgy and formal worship at St Mary’s, and seeing how this enables people to encounter God. Serving my title in a parish where the Eucharist is absolutely central to worship has reinforced my sense that presiding at the Eucharist is part of what I am called to do, so I expect this to be a very special part of my priesthood.
Revd Julie Clarkson. Someone once told me that “If you love what you do, you never work another day”. And that really, sums up my time since I was ordained Deacon and came to serve my title post at the United Benefice of Barnoldswick with Bracewell. Serving God in three very diverse churches is a joy and a privilege and has given me the opportunity to vastly widen my experience. There have been many highlights over the past year and just a few of them include: working with the local church school, involved in starting up a Café Church, helping to establish a monthly after-school worship group, working ecumenically, funeral and baptism ministry and achieving my MA in Theology. My diaconate year has flown by and I’m grateful for all the trust gained, the support given and the many blessings received along the way. The role is not always easy and it comes with its challenges. However, as time goes on I am keenly aware that I am in the right place and of God’s call to priestly ministry.
Revd Tim Stevens. Since my ordination as a deacon last July, I have enjoyed being involved in all aspects of life at Wakefield Cathedral. I have been given opportunities to lead worship in a variety of settings, exercise pastoral ministry at people’s homes and in hospital, lead Bible study groups as part of our regular programme, be part of large civic events, and many other things as well. It has been a great privilege to work with some amazing people, and I have appreciated the warmth of the welcome which I and my family received. Once I am ordained priest this Summer, I look forward to deepening my experience and knowledge of practical details, personal relationships and faith.
Revd Ruth Donegan-Cross. My journey to ordination was a long road, and being ordained last year was a huge milestone in my life. I have relished almost all aspects of ministry this year; I have really enjoyed getting to know my new parish, working alongside my colleagues, learning new skills, and witnessing God at work. There have been times when I have been pushed right out of my comfort zone and have stepped out, as if onto thin ice, and have known with conviction that God has held me safe, and given me what I have needed; and other times where I have known with great clarity that God has equipped me for this new identity, and it fits like a pair of well-worn shoes. I am really looking forward to being priested, and the next chapter in this exciting, demanding, all-consuming, wonderful journey of ordained ministry.
Revd Kathryn Elliott I was ordained as a Distinctive Deacon in 2008, and being ordained has meant fulfilment, blessing and challenge. I have enjoyed the diverse ministry of being a deacon, especially visiting in the community, leading a variety of services, establishing a pre school group in church, taking school assemblies and welcoming school classes into church. It has been a privilege to be alongside those going through significant life events. Hopes for my priesthood are to continue the servant role of a deacon and for God to continue his transformation within me so that in Eucharistic ministry others are welcomed and nurtured in God’s love , for their unique calling.
Revd Jimmy Lawrence. I have loved my time as a Deacon, working at Otley Parish Church with Graham my incumbent has been a fun, exhausting, and an exciting learning curve. During the Ordination service last summer Bishop Nick outlined the calling of a Deacon: I now have those words printed on the wall of my study and read them most weeks. Being ordained to "reach into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible" is a profound and, at times, heart-wrenching calling. My work as a trustee of the Lighthouse Network, which seeks to bring hope and the love of Jesus to those battered and bruised by the storms of life, has continued to show me just how powerfully God's light can shine in the dark corners of this world. It is a privilege and honour to be ordained to show the forgotten people of our cities that God has not forgotten them. Secondly, being ordained to "accompany those searching for faith and bring them to baptism" has been one of my great joys this past year. Otley Parish Church has run two enquirers courses, one in a pub and one in a cafe. The conversations I had there were challenging, stimulating and a lot of fun. I am grateful for the opportunity to create spaces where those seeking faith can encounter Jesus. Finally, being ordained deacon is a call to "bring the needs of the world before the Church in intercession." This year I was involved in the organising of Thy Kingdom Come in Otley. The Churches together used a local coffee shop to prayer continuously from 8am-11pm for the 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost. This was a wonderful time of prayer and worship with Christians from across the denominations. I do not know what God will do in Otley next year, or what he will do in me through my priesting. To be honest I am only just coming to terms with what he did at my deaconing! However I am hopeful and expectant that "the dawn from on high shall break upon us... and guide our feet into the way of peace".
Revd Nathanael Poole. Since being ordained I have felt a greater responsibility in my own Christian discipleship, as well as a greater hunger for growth in holiness and being close to Jesus. I found especially pertinent the words of Bishop Nick as he prayed through the words of the ordinal, "you cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength.... So pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit". I still feel an awfully long way off the challenge of Christian discipleship which is laid out in the ordinal prayer, I think I ought to pray more earnestly! In my first year of curacy I have enjoyed starting a small group for young adults (18-30s), and beginning to explore the Bible together and what it means to follow Jesus. I have also enjoyed spending time with the young people on a Sunday evening. Being in Bradford has given me lots to reflect on concerning mission in a multi cultural community, I have also eaten a lot of delicious curries! As I turn my mind to looking forward to being ordained a presbyter in June, I am looking forward to serving the church in Eucharistic ministry, as well as furthering things that I have gotten involved with in my year as a deacon. I hope to find the ordination to the presbyterate as powerful and challenging as I found the ordination to the diaconate!
Revd Steven Harvey. I have no idea where the time has gone since I was ordained deacon last summer. They say that time flies when you are enjoying yourself and I have certainly been enjoying ordained ministry so far. Of course, that is not to say that there have not been busy, stressful or confusing moments; but even those have been opportunities to draw closer to God and learn to trust myself less and Him more. One thing that continues to amaze me about ordained ministry is its sheer breadth. Take one of the days I had recently, for example. I spent the morning praying, receiving two requests for funerals and making the preliminary arrangements for them, then preparing materials for student Alpha session that evening. I spent the afternoon writing a talk for a series of Lent Meditations at the church the following evening before delivering an after-school club for children at a local primary school. That evening, I then spent leading the aforementioned student Alpha session. How many callings give you privilege of seeing all that in one day?! My hope as I approach ordination to the priesthood is simply that God will use me as He sees fit, and that day-by-day, reminding me that I am but a clay jar and that I need Him to grants me the power of His Spirit in which to faithfully do what He wants me to do.
Revd Tim Madeley. “I have really enjoyed the first year of curacy in the Ingleborough Team. The congregations across the 5 churches have been very welcoming and encouraging. I have had many opportunities to be involved and learn what it means to wear a collar around the town. I am a regular helper with the Auction Mart Chaplaincy and have quickly come to know the differences in sheep and cattle breeds! I am looking forward to priesting and being able to continue to walk alongside the church and the community here and we are all excited to see what God has in store for us.”
Revd Stephen Hanscombe. I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone. I have constantly been reminded what a privilege it is to serve as a deacon serving in the Bedale Benefice and as Co-Headteacher in my school in Northallerton. It is the small things that have struck me the most - the conversations with people, the opportunity to pray with them and walk alongside them as we work together to build God's Kingdom and to support people at important times in their lives - both at times of rejoicing and times of sadness. My hopes for my priesthood are to continue to work alongside and among the people of the Benefice and to become the Priest that God wants me to be.
Revd Sonia Kasibante.The months seem to have flown by since ordination to the diaconate in July last year, and this could only be a positive sign! Life in my title parishes of Gipton and Oakwood has been full of new, exciting and challenging experiences. I have felt very happy and supported in my role as curate. It is a unique privilege to be in position to serve a diverse cross-section of people, to learn from them and to share prayer and worship, joys and sorrows, the mundane and the exciting aspects of everyday life. I have been inspired in many ways: by the openness and uninhibited enthusiasm of children and young people in church and at school; by the resilience and energy of their parents; by the faithfulness and Christian witness of the older generation; by the trust and humble gratitude of the bereaved; by the sturdiness and patience of asylum seekers. In addition to learning through the people I meet and the experiences we share, I continue to appreciate learning through preparation for sermons, other pieces of work entrusted to me and ongoing training from the diocese and I feel tremendously grateful to be able to spend my time doing this. Please pray that I may grow in wisdom, the ability to listen attentively to God and others and to articulate the Good News and the hope that is within me.
Revd Sue McWhinney. I have been in a busy parish, with three churches, and this year for me has been a time of change, meeting lots of new people, and new opportunities. I have found that it has been a particular privilege to conduct baptisms and funerals, to accompany people at times of joy and loss, and to experience the grace of God at work in those times. I have found it to be true, as the Ordinal says, that we can only do this ministry by the grace and power of God. My hope for the future when I am priested is that I shall continue to grow into being the minister that God has called me to be, and that I will be faithful to that calling.
Revd Tim Roberts. It been an eventful year or so for me and my family. Like many of my colleagues I have not only had the life changing experience of being ordained as a deacon, but I have moved house, sent my children to a new school, completed my academic studies and began serving at a new church with many new tasks and roles to learn. However, this year has been extraordinary; firstly experiencing the devastating sudden death of my mum and then contracting viral meningitis a few months later and dealing with the truly debilitating post viral fatigue that follows. It has undoubtedly been a tough year, but the love and care from my wife Emma has been incredible and the compassion from the Bishops, the Archdeacon, my incumbent and local congregation has been humbling. I have learnt afresh that I am loved and valued by my Heavenly Father and the body of Christ not because of what I can do, but because of who I am - a child of God. Despite the personal challenges, I have loved my time so far at St John's, Clayton and take great joy from being in the dual position of both learning and making a difference. But today is another marker in the sand, today I give my life afresh to serve God and His church as a priest. Once again I'm left feeling blessed and humbled.
Revd Lucy Savage. This first year, ordained as a deacon, has been incredible. It continues to be a joy and a privilege to serve the Church and community of Ossett & Gawthorpe. It has been a whirlwind of learning and I am constantly reminded of God’s presence and power in my life to equip and provide for me as I have live and serve in this place. I have especially enjoyed visits to people in their homes, involvements with the local schools and working collaboratively with volunteers in facilitating various events, as we share our faith with those around us. Ordination to the priesthood will be the fulfilment of many years of God’s call upon my life and my hope is that I will lead a life focussed on God and that I would, by example of prayer, learning and personal faith and through administration of the sacraments, lead people to God and develop their faith by walking alongside them as they discover and discern God’s call upon their own lives so that we can work together in God’s mission throughout the world.
Revd Alex Ladds. It is almost a year since I was ordained Deacon and started my curacy here in BMT. As my ordination to the Priesthood approaches I have been reflecting on all that has happened and all that I have learnt over the last few months. As I produced my portfolio summarising my experiences as a Curate this served to demonstrate the diversity and breadth of activity that goes on in a small rural parish. It has been my pleasure to be welcomed into the three Churches to take part in and lead a wide variety of services. One of the key benefits to my experience has been the distinct characters of each of the churches and the variation in liturgy and style of worship that this has afforded. So much has happened that to pick out key events is difficult but among the highlights is the Parish Pilgrimage to Walsingham at which I was honoured to Deacon at the main service of the week. Another highlight was taking part in the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. The Vigil service at Broughton was extremely moving, the Good Friday service at Marton gave me a chance to try out a new liturgy and the Dawn Mass followed by breakfast at Thornton made getting up so early very worthwhile. As I look forward to my Priesting I am looking forward to continuing to serve in my parish and as school Chaplain at Giggleswick and learning more and more of what ministry means.
Revd Stroma McDermott. Being ordained has been exciting, adventurous, daunting and challenging and it has been a very special year. I have loved getting to know the Parish and being able to engage with people across ages, interests and traditions. As Deacon I’ve been able to do a lot inside and outside of church. In particular It’s been a massive privilege to be involved in our funeral and baptism ministries, school assemblies and services and to train and equip new teams for prayer ministry, children’s work and our women’s group. As a Priest I’m looking forward to presiding at our communion services and inviting people to share at God’s table and to discern with God’s people where Christ is leading us and growing us.
Revd Hannah Lievesley. My time as a deacon has been exciting and challenging - often joyful; often exhausting; never dull! I have been welcomed, encouraged and nurtured by the wonderful people of St John’s since my arrival, and feel very much at home here. The variety of ordained ministry has surprised me. I am encouraged that within this variety there is great scope to discover where my particular gifts lie and allow God to use those to best advantage. Highlights of the year include: the confirmation service in January, when we heard the candidates stories of how God had brought them to that point; a whole-school assembly, teaching the children to sing ‘When it’s Stormy’ and seeing their delight; and some of the more poignant pastoral encounters in which God has seemed very present with us. I’ve enjoyed the opportunities that wearing a collar brings. In particular the conversations it opens up with complete strangers when walking the dog in the park! For priesthood, my hopes are that God will continue to lead, encourage and equip me. I’m praying particularly that the Holy Spirit will give inspiration (and speed!) to my sermon preparation; that I will continue to grow in confidence; and that, with the whole people of St John’s, we will find new and exciting ways to proclaim the gospel and grow the church in Farsley.
Revd Anthony Laotan. Since being ordained as a Deacon, life has become incredibly busier but more meaningful at the same time. I have come to realise the huge level of expectation and respect with which clergy are viewed both within the church and the wider community. This year, I have grown spiritually and benefitted greatly from our daily rhythm of Morning Prayer and prayerfully led team meetings. Being uniquely placed within a team of clergy has enabled me to observe and learn from two completely different vicars yet given room to develop my style and discover areas of ministry that I'm naturally gifted for. What I have enjoyed the most though is just connecting with people and just getting to know them by visiting and sharing life with them. All the above-mentioned would not have been possible without the unflinching support of my wife and kids who have made an incredible sacrifice to ensure I am in pursuit of my calling, purpose and destiny.
Revd Cindy Sheard. It is a real privilege to serve in the Parishes of Christ Church in Liversedge and St James in Heckmondwike - both places I grew up in. I am looking forward to the future and walking alongside others in the faith journey.
Revd Robert Johnson My Deacon’s year has been challenging, rewarding and enjoyable, a time when God has been at work with me in more ways than one. As a Self-Supporting Minister I have spent my weekdays as a Pastoral Support Worker in a local high school (and will continue to do so), while spending as much time as I can in the parishes learning and enjoying the support of my training incumbent along with the welcoming congregations of St James the Great, Woodhall and St Margarets, Thornbury.
To serve the Christian community and the school community is both an awesome responsibility and a great privilege. As I prepare to be ordained priest I look forward to the challenge that a widening ministry will bring with the same confidence that God will walk with me as I meet, greet, prepare and welcome God’s people sacramentally into active membership of God’s kingdom.
Revd Andrew Steer. Reverend? Me? It’s been almost a whole year since I was ordained as Assistant Curate in the Parish of Almondbury with Farnely Tyas, and it still feels quite surreal. I’ve loved being able to tell school children and teachers about Jesus, I’ve sung hymns in care homes and prayed with people at home and on the street. I’ve baptised children, been entrusted with funerals and am now preparing to marry. This has been an incredible time of working out what it means to be ‘ordained’ and what that means to others as well. Living the public life of a minister has brought new questions of identity and a development of what it means to be me.I’ve enjoyed serving at the altar each week but now I really look forward to presiding over the whole service and having full involvement in the mystery and wonder of the Eucharist. I look forward to continuing development in all aspects of ministry, getting ready to ‘fly solo’ and preparing for parish ministry. Priesting will be, amongst many other things, another affirmation of God’s love for his world, and I look forward to being a part of that blessing.
Revd John Fisher. Whow what an amazing and challenging year it’s been. When the wife and I arrived in this united benefice of Darton and Staincross we were overwhelmed by the warm welcome from both the congregations and the community at large. I have been given numerous opportunities as part of my ongoing formation to develop my future role as a priest such as funerals, leading Morning Prayer, assisting at baptisms, weddings the list goes on.
In the community I run various school assemblies and are now an active school governor at one of them. I helped to kick start the local pantomime after 25 years much to my embarrassment (Yes I ended up in tights and make up as one of the Panto Dames!). I am also involved in many other community projects such as “The Voice for Darton” and help to run the village fete. I have started a hiking group, crafts and games club, and set up a webpage too. I could not have done all this without the incredible support of our two churches and of course my family. I look forward to the next two years in this amazing community
Revd Kate Reynolds
Revd Simon Scott
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