Being Ordained Priest in 2019

Rob Denton
It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve the diaconal year of my curacy at St Philip’s Osmondthorpe and St Wilfrid’s Halton Moor, and although we have faced some difficulties as a family, this has been a richly blessed place to be. Hannah has been a supportive and enabling TI, and with so much to do in our large benefice I have been given a wealth of opportunities to throw myself into: I have led every non-Eucharistic service going, taken a lead on schools work in several primary schools, helped cope with a flooded vestry, applied for dispensation from faculty for a sign, printed pew-sheets, visited parishioners, wrestled with sound systems, and somehow I am beginning to learn to find a rhythm of prayer and presence amid the busy-ness. I am excited at the thought of my first Eucharist, and look forward to being released into wider service as I take this next step. 

Kim Mason
This year I have really enjoyed getting to know our new church family, joining our new community and establishing new friendships. It has been fun working with the staff team and chasing after God's vision for discipleship and multiplication in our community. It has been particularly rewarding to work with everyone involved in delivering our new look evening service, particularly working with the worship teams and the young people serving on them. I am looking forward to getting even more involved over the coming months and years, particularly with our more traditional services and congregations.

Chris Clayton
WOW!!! The first year here at St Peter's Harrogate has been amazing. It has been a dream come true to serve God in all I do, to be able to give myself fully to the worshipping life of the church and community, everything from Tots group to Evensong, from the homeless breakfast club to evening fellowship. If anything this first year has reignited a deep passion for people, to serve, to love and help them on their own Christian journey. 
Writing this I am acutely aware that my Priesting is on the horizon and with that also comes the responsibilities of being that vessel for God during the blessings, absolutions and Eucharist. But I am also reminded that it is God's yoke that I wear and it is God's strength that supports me. When I remember those words, I just smile with giddy anticipation of what God is calling me to this next year. 

Steve Nuttall
It has been a very busy but most enjoyable year since my ordination as Deacon. I have enjoyed working along side my Training Incumbent, leading people in worship and preaching. I have also enjoyed becoming part of the family of my new churches, making links with the local community centre and food hub.We have also seen growth in both church’s both numerically and spiritually. 

I have come to realise my vocation involves the whole community. My faith and ministry are linked not only to the church, but to the community I am part of religious or not.

I am really looking forward to being ordained priest and leading people to Christ through the Eucharist and sharing in their journey of faith. I am also looking forward to see what God has in store for us as we look at Leading Your Church Into  Growth.

Philippa Slingsby
My deacon year has been a great time to get adjusted to parish life. I have particularly enjoyed getting alongside families who initially attend church for baptism, and seeing two of our all-age services grow and develop.  Being priested is the next step on what has seemed a long journey, and I look forward to being able to minister in new and different ways. 

Neil Walpole
My first year at Dewsbury Team Parish has been very much about building relationships with the people of the parish, both within and outside the church. Highlights have included my first Baptisms, producing a pantomime (‘Wise men from Dewsbury East’) and developing a new monthly all age service called Thrive. I have enjoyed preaching whilst ministering to the bereaved and taking of funerals have been both moving and a great privilege. Participation in the Eucharist is to me one of the moments when we can feel closer to God than any other time and I am looking forward to presiding at the Eucharist, I hope, in a way that will draw people into a sense of Christ’s deep presence and love. The parish has recently purchased a double decker bus and I am excited about the prospect of building a team that will use the bus to reach out into estates of the parish where there is no visible Christian presence.

Jenny Clarke
I have very much enjoyed my deacon year getting to know the congregations of Bradshaw and Holmfield, and working with a great team. I am very happy to be back in Yorkshire after training in Oxford, and I’m loving getting to know Calderdale. The most special things this year for me have been leading services and preaching – sharing my joy at the extravagant love of God. That joy also leads me to anticipate being able to celebrate the eucharist after priesting, sharing God’s grace and blessing in the sacraments. 

Blair Radford
I've had a fantastic diaconal year, since my ordination in June 2018. There are lots of highlights, but the two that really stand out. My starting from scratch of our parish Parents and Toddlers Group and the restarting, as a result of this group, of the Young Peoples Church on a Sunday. Both are really flourishing. Bringing people to faith and back to faith in these contexts, has been an amazing experience.

Being able to really dig deep into the calling of a deacon, visiting the old, lonely and the sick, baptising and being part of families in bereavement, has been uplifting and humbling in equal measure. I feel very blessed to have had both experiences with the many baptisms and funerals I have conducted since June. Being a deacon is such a special time, but also a time to build a firm foundation for our ministry yet to come.

Now I look forward to the next step, the big one, of being ordained Priest in July and along with my fellow deacons, I am excited and nervous at what is to come and the additional challenges that being a priest will bring. Saying my first Mass, will be, of course, a life changing moment surrounded by my friends, family and our parish. Only two words come to mind 'Deo Gratias' the latin for 'thanks be to God". I can't wait.

Jessica Malay
It has been a great privilege to serve my deacon year in the parish of Almondbury with Farnley Tyas.  Everyone has been welcoming and helpful, and we laugh a lot.  There have been many high points during the year.  I really enjoyed leading my first Christingle service and finally learning what all the bits of candy, ribbons and candles mean—as this is not something I ever encountered in my American childhood!  I also enjoyed planning and leading the Mothering Sunday service, and was very careful to not call it Mother’s day, though I did have to stand up a little for American Mother’s day.  The congregation was very understanding.  Though what has been most special about this year is getting to know the congregation, to hear their stories and to see God working in their lives.  My training incumbent, Revd Mark Zammit has supported and challenged me and I really appreciate his dedication to my training this year.  My fellow curate, Revd Andrew Steer, who is finishing his third year, was a real inspiration and again very supportive.  I am looking forward to my priesting as it will allow me to serve God and my community in new ways. I continue in my ‘day job’ at the University of Huddersfield, and I await the challenges and opportunities that are certain arise in the coming year with (mostly) joyful expectation!

Hannah Raitt
I’m serving my curacy in Bankfoot and West Bowling in inner-city Bradford, and my first year has been a whirlwind of excitement, challenge, joy, and a generous helping of what I like to call beautiful chaos! Highlights have included baptising young people who I’ve seen grow in faith over several years, working with Muslim women to tackle issues in our area together, ministry with schools and local families, and gathering around my kitchen table with all sorts of people to read the Bible, dream, pray, and build community. I’ve appreciated the many opportunities to be creative and contextual in worship, mission and ministry, and I’m looking forward to growing into this more as I’m ordained priest this summer. I’m so grateful for the way in which the churches have welcomed and embraced me and my family, and it is a privilege to continue to live and serve alongside these fellow disciples, as we seek to see God’s Kingdom come in this vibrant and wonderful part of the world!


Matthew Broughton
I’ve really enjoyed my deacon year at St Paul’s Ireland Wood. I’ve spent this year getting to know lots of people and getting stuck in to lots of varied forms of parish ministry. I’ve particularly enjoyed organising and leading on lots of community events, as well as leading and preaching on a Sunday. I’m looking forward to continuing to serve St Paul’s after priesting and am excited the work the Holy Spirit is doing in me and in our church.

Ericcson Mapfumo
My curacy at St Aidan was a mixed experience. It is one of those context in which you have to relearn some of the things that formed part of the theological training curriculum, for instance who could have known that l was going to meet a group of people from the Bantu known as the 'Shona' and the 'Ndebele' as well as being involved with Persian Christians and having to think what the gospel mean for these groups of people. The context was multicultural with a lot of people on the edges of society, who constantly challenged me to reflect on God's calling in my life, especially that to do with serving the 'poor'.
I have come to appreciate the other world which my wife and children have constantly been pointing, 'that outside work'. This l have found to be a useful reminder that l am called to be in the world, to be with family as the starting point. As my vocations advisor used to say: 'remember you were called to be a husband first before you were called to be a priest"
I ask for prayers as I continue my curacy at St Martin's Potternewton and all Souls little London. I look forward to being priested as l continue to serve God in word and sacrament

Andrew Griffin
My first year ordained as Deacon has been an incredible year. It is a real privilege to be able to draw alongside people in many different ways, there is real joy in telling people the Good News of Jesus. This year I have witnessed how gaining faith can change lives, especially whilst ministering to vulnerable people who struggle with homelessness, addictions, mental health issues and other problems that can be isolating, we have seen the chains of oppression fall from many, but there is still so much work to do.
I look forward to priesting not only to continue the work God has called me to do, but I believe there is something incredibly Holy about drawing people to the communion table, to share bread and wine with those we are called to love, coming together as one body, one church, one family.

Brian Greenwood
Over the past 12 months I have enjoyed many new experiences particularly within the scope of occasional offices. I have enjoyed meeting people at these key moments in their lives and being able to share God’s love & grace with them from the position of ordained ministry has heightened my sense of calling. Our new ‘Games & Grub’ initiative which has reached out to those in the community who find themselves isolated and seeing this group emerge and thrive in church has been a wonderful opportunity. I continue to enjoy preaching, for me a key part of my calling and the recent 'Start' course I led was also a key highlight, being able to explore faith in Jesus with folk within this context has been a joy and privilege. I am looking forward to being able to lead people further into the presence and love of God through teaching, the Eucharist and serving and caring for the community and churches which I have been called to. I know that this is God’s work which I am called to do and as a priest will endeavour to continue to serve in His strength and see people as He sees them.

Jane Finn
In my deacon’s year I have immensely enjoyed serving in a public role in a Minster context which affords a regular high profile.  

I have very much enjoyed getting to know and serve the people of Halifax, along with building relationships with the Voluntary, Civic, Military and Faith communities here and in Germany, and with the media.  I have travelled to Germany and have also been involved with various speaking engagements, and a number of broadcasts with local radio and with BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Leeds and ITV Leeds. 
There are enormous opportunities for mission within the Minster environment which is open daily and receives people who come for many reasons from across the town, borough, Diocese, Country and International Communities. This is a Ministry of Presence – both at the Minster and across the town, with local communities coming to us in times of difficulty.  

I have enjoyed setting up various teams and developing a Christian response to serious mental health and suicide issues in the Parish, involving the reordering of a side-chapel.  

It has been incredible to get involved and minister in such varied contexts including further afield with our link partners in Germany and Tanzania. 

As I look ahead, I feel incredibly proud to be able to soon minister to the people I serve in new ways – absolutions, Eucharistically, and blessings.  I am also looking forward to working with the team to further develop the Minster, and looking forward to overseeing the re-ordering of the side-chapel in response to local need and in the light of a new 6th form due to open in the Parish. 

Natasha Thomas
This year has gone so very quickly serving as a deacon in Keighley parish working primarily in St Marks Utley and Keighley Shared Church in the centre, although also working with St Barnabas for their Messy Church and All Saints with their asylum seekers. It has been wonderful to be part of such varied worship styles – Liberal Anglo Catholic to evangelical to traditional Anglican and to look to ways in which we can meaningfully engage with city centre life. At St Mark’ I have found I have been involved in leading services to a both the older population through residential  and nursing home care and the family population by looking to different ways in which we could link the very active under 5s parents and toddler group into church life. This has led to the setting up of the monthly 3 o’clock family fun service. I am also actively involved in the development and shaping of the 6.30 service of the word and have now started a monthly café style service which includes sharing food and discussion.
At Keighley Shared Church it has been very interesting to observe and learn how Anglicans and Methodists come together to worship through one service and what it has meant and cost for the 10.45 congregation to come and plant into Shared church from St Marks. As a result there is a passion and commitment to the centre of Keighley. With a real focus on outreach and serving people through a pay as you feel café, which primarily serves addicts and alcoholics. I have found working in this environment very rewarding and encountered the power of prayer time and time again. To have been able to reach out as a deacon and to engage in community in this way has been a wonderful privilege.   

Becoming ordained priest is something I am so very much looking forward to as it will enable me to fully contribute to the communion service and be able to offer absolution and blessings to those who come regularly come into the church building at KSC seeking for forgiveness and blessing. Having spent my diaconal year in Keighley and gained so much I now am looking forward to being able to develop new spaces for worship as a priest, that will enable those who may find it hard to engage in a traditional service but who are so obviously seeking God.

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