Being ordained priest in 2018

Derek Jones. I’m Derek, serving my title in the parishes of All Saints and St. Oswald’s, Little Horton, in Bradford.


I’m married to Helen, with two kids, Reuben and Matilda. We were excited to come back to the city we love and feel called by God to, and it’s been great to get back into the rhythm of praying with and for, loving and practically serving community after two years studying full-time in Durham at Cranmer Hall.


In my Deacon’s year I’ve particularly loved the space and time to pray for and listen to the community God’s brought us to, and to work out how I can respond. This has meant lots of exciting opportunities, some expected and others a complete surprise, but it’s been an amazing privilege to connect regularly with different groups of people to read the Bible and think about what it means for us to be Jesus’ disciples in the 21st century.


Another exciting privilege of curacy has been the continued opportunity to study more, both formally and informally, and especially to think about what this new role to which God has called me represents. It’s been especially interesting to recognise that with ordination to the priesthood it’s important for me to recognise what priesthood represents to all God’s people, and to really engage with the range of theological understandings the Anglican communion can hold in tension.


In practical terms, I’m really looking forward to gathering God’s people around God’s table at the Eucharist, and to playing my part in bringing others to the beautiful outpouring of God’s grace at communion.


So far my curacy has felt like a massive blessing, and I’ve been learning and enjoying so much. I look forward to what God has in store over the next couple of years, and to getting more and more involved in the Faith communities to which God’s brought us as a family.





Chris Baxfield

It has been a great joy to serve as curate of St Barnabas’, Alwoodley and St Paul’s, Shadwell this first year. The grace of the Lord has been abundant as I have survived my first school assemblies, funerals, and baptisms. Not too many complaints follow my preaching, although I am now aware there is at least one Greek scholar in the congregation. We praise the Lord for the two Alpha guests who have committed their lives to Christ and pray for a continued harvest. I look forward to my first eucharist and to being even more deployable in the Lord’s service.




Claire Corley


It has been a wonderful year, with a real sense of God's presence & affirmation and one that has passed like a whirlwind!  Getting to grips with a tradition different from my own has been stretching and enriching, and I've been grateful for the constant love, support & encouragement from the congregation at St Edmund's, and for their grace when I have misunderstood things!  I have really valued my training incumbent's ability to equip and release me into many areas of ministry, and have thoroughly enjoyed all the rich and varied experiences that parish life offers. Particularly highlights have been the Christmas & Easter Services, and also getting to know people through the newly launched Toddler & Alpha groups.  The privilege of being alongside people in their life journeys, and seeing God support and equip them, has provided many humbling experiences. So as I continue in this call, I hold tightly to the bidding in the ordination service: "you cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength. So pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit"



Angela Birkin


This year has been a learning year, a year of discovery. Discovering what a dalmatic is, rediscovering the beauty of evensong and the joy of leading this lovely service, discovering the warmth, friendliness and diversity of the church families of St Michael and All Angels, St Chad and All Hallows’ within the Headingley team, and discovering the privilege of ministering to God’s people in Headingley. Then, as illness hit in late November different lessons offered themselves: learning to wait on God’s time, learning to be rather than do and know that I am loved by God no less, learning of the compassion and mercy of God, and discovering the power of prayer, especially when one is the beneficiary of the prayers of so many people. I look forward to returning to full health soon, and as a priest ministering, through word and sacrament, to those who have ministered to me in so many ways this year.



Dan Ross


Life in a collar is never dull or slow! I've found my first year of curacy challenging, rewarding and enjoyable in equal measure. It's been a delight to get to know the community and church of Upper Armley and discover more about what it means to be ordained. The diversity of day-to-day life is wonderful and I've particularly enjoyed the people-facing focus of the role and the joy of being deeply involved in many aspects of community life - from school to high street and the high and low points of life. In becoming a priest I am looking forward to stepping into more of what God has in store, of discerning his mission in Upper Armley, and of enjoying the immense privilege of this calling.






Rolf Mason


I moved to St Luke’s, Holbeck to start my curacy in July 2017. I trained for ordination at Ripon College Cuddesdon studying on the Masters in Applied Theology pathway, which encouraged me to research topics of special interest: education, liturgy, worship, preaching, sacraments and mission. Inner-city life in Holbeck is vibrant, fun and endlessly engaging. However, there is significant deprivation and material need. It has been a joy to work with and befriend my training incumbent Alistair who models contextual and engaged urban ministry: I am learning so much! Highlights for me have included a failed enquirers course, which led to a rich discipleship relationship with a couple new to church; preaching more regularly; and participating in the Community Reference Group working with the Police and Council on the Managed Approach to Sex Work in Holbeck. I am excited to continue labouring alongside so many talented people in south Leeds. My ordination to be priest brings to fruition a process that began many years ago, becoming a shepherd and pastor. For me becoming a priest is where my deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.


Bob Bailey


Together with the Revd Andy Nicholson and my family; Jess, Rose, Reuben and Jacob, I have been serving in the Elmete Trinity Benefice of Barwick, Scholes and Thorner. A highlight has been Leeds Festival Angels who provide lost property, detached teams and a prayer cafe for the 80,000+ revellers at Leeds Festival in August. There has also been plenty of traditional ministry and the variety of worship has suited my eclectic spirituality. Most memorable were Easter meditations on art, music and poetry followed by dressing as a chicken for a school service! Future plans in development with our enthusiastic team include a monthly club for dads and a new all-age service in Barwick. I am constantly reminded that we are signs of God’s Kingdom, mirrors of His love and travellers together discovering unexpected joy.




Yvonne Hagan


My first year as curate at Holy Nativity Mixenden has been wonderful i have been surprised at how quickly i have settled in serving as a deacon has been a great privilege and i have learnt a lot in regards to liturgy and the celebration of  various seasons in the Church. As a SSM working full time it has been challenging at times juggling the pressures of working full time with the desire to get involved in all aspects of parish life. I am looking forward to being ordained a priest as i see this a part of the fulfilment of my calling and to be able to preside at the Eucharist will be an honour.










Steph Hunter


Since ordination last year, I have thoroughly enjoyed working for God's Kingdom and creatively communicating God's love to our parishes of Cumberworth, Denby, Denby Dale and Shepley. I have been overwhelmed by God's grace, which is so much greater than anything I could ever have imagined. After priesting, I am most looking forward to being continually surprised by God's grace, and discovering the blessings and hospitality of the table anew.







Michelle Petch


My first year of curacy has been the most amazing and humbling experience. The people of Holy Trinity and St Jude’s were so welcoming when I arrived in the parish last June and helped me to feel at home from the start. There have been so many highlights of the past year, but in particular, baptising my two grandchildren, launching Trinity Lighthouse After-School Church in our local church primary school, presenting the oil of chrism at the Chrism Eucharist in Wakefield Cathedral, and singing the Exultet at the Easter Vigil, will all stay in my memory for a long time to come.


I look forward now with joy to my priesting in June, and for all that God has in store for me in the years to come. I am especially looking forward to presiding at the Eucharist, and continuing to serve God and his people in a whole variety of new and exciting ways.


Monika Doering


Monika’s first year has been an exciting (and at times exhausting!) whirl of getting to know priests, parishioners and other people, assisting in and taking services, home and hospital visits, preaching and talking, studying and learning, driving around the Benefice set in the beautiful South Yorkshire landscape, knuckling down with PCCs, rolling sleeves up for Messy Church, and generally mucking in! Everybody couldn’t have been friendlier or more welcoming. She has also embarked on her MA studies with St Hild College in Mirfield, very much enjoying the opportunities to be part of a learning community in close vicinity to the brothers of the Community of the Resurrection. She is thoroughly looking forward to her ordination as priest and the challenges and surprises that lie ahead over the next two years.






Erik Peeters


The first year of curacy has been both hard work and great fun. It has been lovely to get to know the communities of St James, Thornes, and St George's Lupset and to get involved in the many great things they do. A particular highlight has been to get involved with the work of the Food Bank at St George's, where we get to build relationship with people often on the very margins. It has been great to see that people who first came for a food parcel have been coming back for company and friendship, and for the free lunch! We have been working on expanding what we can offer as part of the food bank, and have begun to explore partnerships with the Leeds Credit Union, WYFI, and the Foodbank Network in Wakefield. We also were successful in a funding bid with Wakefield City Council. I am looking forward to building on these developments, as well as to explore further options for growing the impact we have as church communities in Thornes and Lupset, and wider across Wakefield.


Rod Walker

My year as Deacon; what a surprise it has been! No one can fully prepare you for it. I Have been blessed with supportive and encouraging congregations at St Giles and St Mary Pontefract, opportunities in abundance to experience spirit led mission, and administration of the sacraments. But for me the most unique thing has been the wonderful, colourful and diverse people I have been privileged to meet, journeyed with and experienced God’s kingdom growing. How did this happen? Wearing ‘the collar’, it allows others to ‘open up’, and permission for you and Christ Jesus to walk into lives by invitation. Also, may thanks to Fr Bob as he leaves for Durham, a great T.I.  Biggest thanks to my wife Diane, without who’s love and support I may not have been strong enough to cope on occasion. What are you waiting for? Please pray for us, Rod


Mark Burns


It  has been a busy first year as an ordained deacon in the Church of England. The first 3 Sundays of the month I participate in five services, three of which I use the reserved sacrament-one at Bassetlaw NHS where I serve as a part-time chaplain along with Doncaster NHS. The two other reserved sacrament services are at Rampton, where again I serve as an NHS chaplain, part-time. The other two services I simply preach and deacon in the Mass at St Paul’s and St Mary the Virgin, Barnsley.


The last Sunday in the month I try and have as a day off to spend time with my family.

Moving forward, being priested would allow me to celebrate Mass and not be so dependent on others to prepare the reserved sacrament for me. 



Peter Clapham


My name is Peter Clapham and I am the curate at St Thomas church Purston and All Saints church Featherstone. As a self-supporting minister I have spent the last year as a Deacon splitting my time between our churches, home in Pontefract and my secular workplace in Salford. I am grateful for all the people in each context who have supported and affirmed me in my ministry. 


As we all move forward into priesthood we can only give thanks for all who pray for us, and sustain us through that prayer. Thanks for our friends and colleagues who between them form part of a support network to encourage us in our ministry. Thanks for our spouses, families, incumbents, spiritual advisers and friends who have been placed in our path by God  to whom the greatest thanks should be given.




James Handley


It is hard to believe that it is already a year since I was ordained a Deacon - the time has flown by, and it has been such a joy and a privilege to get to know the St Mark's family, as we serve one another and our local community on God's mission. It has been a challenge at times to blend two jobs (as both a self-supporting minister and computer programmer!), and there has been a lot to learn, but everyone has been welcoming and gracious to me, and my family, as we settle in. I'm looking forward to increasingly walking alongside others as we each grow in faith and love with Jesus, discerning where God is at work through his Holy Spirit, and celebrating Jesus' offering of himself at the Lord's supper.


Abbie Palmer


My son describes my new role as “meeting people for coffee”. I don’t think the value of this in ministry can be overrated. I have thoroughly enjoyed spending this year getting to know my new parish and parishioners, often over a cuppa or a pint of something. The deep conversations that have come as I share a good Yorkshire brew with friends and strangers in this role is astounding. It has been so fulfilling to be able to say that I am where I am called by God to be. It has meant this year has flown. I have been honoured to share with people in times of joy and sorrow, baptising and burying, preparing for confirmation and praying with those who have lost their way. The people of Pannal and Beckwithshaw have supported me as I have grown in service and I am so grateful for their words of encouragement and their patience. I am looking forward to continuing on the path into priestly ministry as I “live and work to God’s praise and glory”.


Caitlin Carmichael-Davis


I have very much enjoyed my first year in Ripon. Highlights have included the installation of Bishop Helen Ann Hartley, which included Maori chants and some very creative liturgy, a wonderful Holy Week and the daily opportunity to listen to the beautiful singing of the Cathedral choir. I have been welcomed with great warmth and encouragement by both the clergy and the congregation of the Cathedral, and have enjoyed getting to know the people and landscape of this lovely area. I am looking forward the sacramental aspects of priesthood, particularly to celebrating the Eucharist, and to being able to respond more fully to those who come to the altar rail to be blessed.


Alex Wheatley


My first year of curacy has gone very quickly, but through my experiences and the careful guidance of my incumbent I have learnt a great deal. It’s been a year filled with school collective worship, baptisms, preaching, study groups and funerals - all of which have been a privilege to lead and participate in. Particularly exciting has been the establishment of our new youth group: ‘Max Potato’ (they chose the name not me!) This is growing and developing and is a highlight of my work here. Another highpoint has been the ‘Do You Know Him’ project, a teaching and outreach initiative shared by all the churches in Skipton. Indeed, it’s been a wonderful time to join the churches in the Skipton district as God moves in our town. I am, of course, immensely grateful to my own churches of St. Mary’s, Carleton in Craven and Christ Church, Skipton for their welcome and encouragement of me over the last year.



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