People from all walks of life are coming to strengthen and serve in our churches as forty seven deacons and priests are ordained this Petertide. A former Sandhurst cadet, a physiotherapist, a retired teacher, a practising solicitor and a former nurse are just some of the first men and women to be ordained in our cathedrals across the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.
Among them we welcome a pioneer curate, a chaplain for businesses in Leeds, a distinctive deacon, a mental health minister from Barnsley and a Fresh Expressions minister.
Many describe their walk of faith as an emotional rollercoaster with a wide range of experiences from the bizarre - conducting a baptism with a godparent on Skype from the Ukraine – to the heart warming and the humbling as they sit beside grieving relatives helping them to say goodbye to their loved ones.
These are some of their words:
“Who we are in God is not defined by what we do but by our willingness to allow God to work in and through us to build the Kingdom.” Debbie Horsfall will be ordained deacon in the Wakefield Episcopal Area
“Slipping the collar on each day is much more than a dress code, it’s an honour, and it has led to some of the most humbling experiences of my life.” Malcolm Hendry will be ordained priest in the Bradford Episcopal Area
“Since teenage years I have been inspired by the call in Mathew 25 to stand with those in need and for the last few years have been working out what it might mean to live according to Micah 6:8 – ‘act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God’.” Christopher Lawton will be ordained deacon in the Ripon Episcopal Area
Please pray for our new deacons and priests as they are ordained this Petertide.
Download a list of their names and the places they are serving here.
You can read some of their journeys here…
Ben Askew is a Pioneer Curate at Kairos Church and will be ordained priest this Petertide
It has been an exciting and rewarding year working Kairos Church. As a family we have found ourselves made very welcome in Harrogate and enjoyed starting to explore this part of Yorkshire.
I have loved getting to know the brilliant people who make up our Network of Mission Shaped Communities. A real highlight has been working alongside the lay leaders of these groups and seeing their passion for discipleship and mission. I have also enjoyed working with our youth and children's teams to see our work in those areas develop.
I have also enjoyed getting to know others in the diocese, and been especially encouraged by times with the rest of last year's Deacons and with other Pioneer ministers in the area. I have also been encouraged and inspired by the regular disciplines of preaching and also participating in and leading worship in different contexts which I find has kept bringing me back to God discover more about him.
Julie Bacon will be ordained deacon this Petertide.
Julie and her family (husband Matt, and children Jack and Kate) moved to Ilkley from London in 2000. She became a member of All Saints’ Church, and since 2007 has worked there as its part-time administrator, as well as Clerk to Governors of a local primary school. Prior to that, Julie worked for the Stock Exchange, before qualifying and practising as a solicitor.
She has spent the last three years training part-time with the Yorkshire Ministry Course at Mirfield, where she has been privileged to study, worship and journey alongside ordinands from a range of traditions. She will serve as curate in the parish of St Peter’s, Shipley, and is much looking forward to getting to know everyone there.
Julie enjoys singing, reading, family DVD nights and walking – Midge the miniature poodle ensures that she gets out regularly!
Jonathan Bish will be ordained priest this Petertide and serves Halifax Minster
Sharon Brown will be ordained deacon this Petertide
For the last 26 years I have been working as a music teacher and music centre manager in North Yorkshire and York, whilst studying on the Yorkshire Ministry Course. I have two children, aged 11 and 15, and we enjoy spending leisure time together.
During the last three years some of the best moments have been sharing the faith journeys of the people I have met, whether at college, on placement, at work or socially. Both music and silence inspire me, and playing music with others is something I enjoy immensely, always reminding me of the God given gifts of creativity and fun!
John Butler will be ordained deacon this Petertide
John will serve in the parishes of Heaton, St. Barnabas and Heaton, St. Martin, after training on the Yorkshire Ministry Course, based at Mirfield, where he has been studying for a Foundation Degree in Theology and Ministry. John is married to Jackie and they have four adult children, three girls and a boy, and they also are delighted to have one grandson aged 15.
Prior to Ordination, John has worked as a School Business Manager at a primary school in Bradford.
John's hobbies include philately, cruising holidays and reading, and he serves as a governor in two schools. He hopes that their new home will give him the opportunity to develop an interest in gardening.
Simon Crook will be ordained deacon this Petertide
It is impossible fully to put into words how my time at The College of the Resurrection has formed me ready for ministry. There is the power and intimacy of monastic worship; the living closely with my fellow students as we support, annoy and grow with each other, learning to be real in the close atmosphere of the college; the profound theological and pastoral lectures and the essays that need to be written trying to express some of the enormity of God and humankind. There have been many wonderful moments, some of them obvious like the celebration of Easter after being immersed in the starkness of Lent and Holy Week; some less obvious, like eating breakfast in silence with 30 other students, staff and visitors, nearly every morning and at ease with other.
I am now very much looking forward to my curacy at St Peter's Huddersfield where my training will continue in the parish community and will no doubt be just as formational in its own way.
David Dodgson will be ordained priest this Petertide
I am a 'Self Supporting' minister and am 'Assistant Curate' at St. Catherine's Church - Belle Vue - Wakefield.
I have come into the Ministry late in life having spent the whole of my 'paid' working life in or around the building industry. I trained through the Yorkshire Ministry Course and studied at the College of the Resurrection - Mirfield.
The Commendation Service at the end of my training was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, second only to the Ordination. The example of many people of God have inspired me especially those who demonstrated a 'practical' aspect to their spirituality - being of assistance to those in need in a practical way, helping those who can not help themselves.
Sarah Farrimond will be ordained deacon this Petertide
It’s quite hard to pinpoint when the journey to ordination began for me. I can't remember a time when I didn't believe in God and have been actively involved with the Church since my teens. I was very inspired by the parish deaconess who prepared me for confirmation; not just by her faith in Jesus, but by her work. I spent most of my 20s working for an Anglican diocese in Uganda on their youth and lay ministry training programmes. When I returned to Britain I continued similar work on a voluntary basis, while bringing up my children, working in a library and studying and teaching theology and religious studies.
Throughout this time the possibility of ordained ministry was ticking away in the background: I was aware that at some point I needed to think very seriously about it and discussed it with my husband quite often, but did nothing official. A comment from my vicar followed up by a long conversation provided the motivation I needed to start the formal discernment process. This was a very intense experience in itself : and though I am not by nature inclined to speak very confidently about what God is saying I felt increasingly that this was the right way to go: a sort of 'yes' from God seemed to be there. I trained at the Queen's Foundation in Birmingham and loved it right from the start. My placement in Middleton was a particular high point and I'm looking forward to starting my curacy in St Cuthbert's Birkby and St Philip's Birchencliffe in July.
Frances Grasham will be ordained priest this Petertide
Frances is married to Steve and has two children who are now both officially adults, having turned 21 and 18 over the last year.
Frances says that being a Deacon has been both wonderful and challenging in equal measure, daily realising her inadequacy and her need for God’s strength. She has enjoyed leading worship and preaching, especially during the Christmas services.
She also says that the picture of a shepherd has always been a powerful one to her and continues to be strong as her ordained ministry develops. She enjoys knitting and is currently creating a flock of sheep which she hopes to use as prayer gifts.
Kevin Greaves will be ordained priest this Petertide and serves the Castleford Team
I sometimes have to pinch myself as I cannot believe the journey so far, from those early days of exploring what God was calling me to do. Those years of denying God and feeling in many ways unworthy, but God does work in mysterious ways and will keep on pushing you until you finally have to stop and say your will be done.
My moment of revelation came when a member of the congregation after hearing my sermon, stopped me after church and said that I should become a priest...!!? How did she know what I was struggling to accept. I guess the rest is history, through BAP, YMC and then ordained as a deacon in 2013. And now I am about to start my life long journey as a priest when I am ordained in June. In many ways it's been a long journey to this point, a journey of soul searching, in some ways believing in myself as God believes in me. In other ways the journey has flown, it's seems like yesterday. All I know is that it just seems right. I should have done this years ago.
One funny thing that happened to me in a cafe was when someone said to me - you can't be a real priest (she didn't know the difference between a deacon and priest), you’re always laughing and joking...you don't expect that. My reply was why not, God has a sense of humour he chose me to wear a dog collar!'
Malcolm Hendry will be ordained priest this Petertide
Starting the year as a new curate I had thoughts and idea of what I would be doing however, what transpired was way beyond anything I could have dreamed of. Fears, joy, tears and laughter, from tantrums to times of quiet reflection often at the same time - and that was just me.
Listening to the joys of booking a wedding or baptism to the tears of a family as they talk of a funeral, from sitting praying with someone who is ill, to thanking God for new life - in the last 12 months, I have learned that no matter what life throws at you in your ministry, nothing can replace the privilege we have in serving the communities in which we work in and the people of the congregation and parish.
Slipping the collar on each day is much more than a dress code, it’s an honour, and it has led to some of the most humbling experiences of my life
The year has been intense and amazing for my church family at St. Cuthbert and I feel blessed to have been a part of it. This year more than anything has shown me the privileges wearing the collar affords you and the trust people put into it. I have been blessed beyond my wildest dream and look forward to the years ahead serving the parish and God.
Debbie Horsfall, will be ordained deacon this Petertide
Who we are in God is not defined by what we do but by our willingness to allow God to work in and through us to build the Kingdom
The path to ordination has been a very long one for me. Having come to faith in my teens I trained as a physiotherapist and worked in the local trust for 24 years. With a successful career and a very young family the last thing I wanted was to train to be ordained. However the prompting of God that had begun more than 20 years ago would not go away and so when my youngest daughter was six months old I formally began the selection process praying fervently I would be politely rejected! Needless to say the church said yes and I began on the Yorkshire Ministry Course September 2011.
Part time training is no easy option especially with the demands of family life and a busy career. It has at times been an enormous struggle and I have needed to rely on the support of my family and friends and copious amounts of caffeine to meet deadlines and prevent me losing my sanity. I have had to learn a whole new language - hermeneutics, metanoia, eschatological and others I cannot spell let alone say!!! I have had my brain pushed to its limit at times and at others I have experienced whole new worlds of understanding which have been astonishing. I would not have thought theology could be so exciting!!!
For all the challenges and stresses training has for me also been the most amazing time of liberation, self discovery and healing. My life has been systematically deconstructed so that God can put it back together again for His service and make me more fully the person He always intended me to be. I have met some of the most wonderful people, formed lifelong friendships and experienced a diversity and depth of worship and connection with God and others that I did not realise was possible. Through the struggles many of my existing relationships have been tested and deepened and my life is altogether richer for this process. I cannot emphasise how thankful I am to all those who have made the last three years possible.
Possibly the greatest lesson that I have learned is that saying yes to God whilst costly is ALWAYS the best way. Who we are in God is not defined by what we do but by our willingness to allow God to work in and through us to build the Kingdom. Time and time again God has proved His faithfulness and mercy through the love and actions of so many and sometimes by the downright miraculous. Prayers I would not have dared to pray have been answered and God's generosity has been humbling. This whole process has been a huge privilege and whilst I remain daunted by ordination and all it means, I cannot help but be excited as I see God's plan unfolding not only in my life but in the lives of all those affected by my journey.
I now look forward to the ordination and my curacy in Ossett as the next stage on this adventure and I cannot wait to see what God has planned. God is most definitely alive and well and working wonders in West Yorkshire and the Dales so watch this space!
Heather Houlton will be ordained priest this Petertide
Heather Houlton is serving her curacy in the beautiful parishes of Linton and Burnsall with Rylstone. Her husband is also ordained and took up his first incumbency as Vicar of Gargrave and Coniston Cold in July 2013. She says, ‘In the past year I have been learning a lot about being both a Curate and a Vicar’s wife.’ This year she has also collected her MA in Christian Theology from Trinity College, Bristol.
Heather enjoys walking, so she relishes being able to be on country footpaths without having to get into the car, either from her home in Gargrave or from her office in Grassington.
Joanne Hustwick will be ordained priest this Petertide
Joanne and her husband John continue to walk with God and have found in the people of Tong and Holme Wood very special companions.
The first year of her curacy has passed so quickly and it has been full of incredible experiences. She has found strength and skills she didn’t know that she possessed and she thanks God for them and for all the support she has received not only from her husband John, but also her training incumbent Rev Canon Steve Davie and the church family.
Family visits, cooking, sewing, reading and supporting Bradford Bulls fill her leisure hours. Jo says that her next challenge is the garden!
Ian Johnston – will be ordained priest this Petertide - A new minister to business
The Revd Ian Johnston has been commissioned as Minister to Business in Leeds –a role in which he’ll develop church involvement in the business life in Leeds.
The Leeds City Region is the UK’s largest economy outside London and Ian, who entered ordained ministry after a career in management and business, believes the church needs to be visible amongst the businesses of the city, supporting and coming alongside those who are in often stressful environments.
Ian says, “I’m a Chaplain to Business, based in the city centre, meeting and having conversations with people, and I also support Christians at work. Many Christians feel on their own and really appreciate fellowship and support as they seek to be salt and light in the business world.”
The other aspects of the role include helping church leaders to engage with people of influence in businesses and city institutions and supporting parishes. Ian adds, “That might mean encouraging congregations to support business people in the church and recognizing their work as a valuable ministry. But it’s also about helping churches engage with the businesses on their doorstep. Many small businesses are based in homes, where it can be very lonely, especially when work dries up. “
As well as working six days a month in the city, Ian is also NSM curate in Adel and Ireland Wood. He says, “I’ve already begun my role in the city and have spent the last few months meeting and getting to know people and everyone’s welcomed the Church’s interest in what’s going on in business in Leeds. They also recognise the support that the Church can offer, which for me means making evident the love of God”.
Val Keating will be ordained deacon this Petertide
I will be 60 on June 22 – I took early retirement from nurse education in July 2012 having been in nursing since 1972 as I wanted to work in a community, serving others in a different way to the one I was used to. I still teach nursing for the Open University but only a couple of hours each week.
I have always been involved with church, and with those who have a faith and no faith - I am a people person, I love to hear other people’s stories.I discovered some years ago that God nags and despite all kinds of reasons I gave for not taking the path to ordination, they kept getting swept aside and the way forward opened up. I continue to be amazed and surprised at this but I am happy to go where I am being led. I will be serving as a curate in Batley, on a part time basis, where I am keen to get involved with multi-faith activities and I have already made tentative steps in this way.
Highs of the course - everything really, particularly the group support - my group are Cuthbert and we have embraced him fully as we have had Easter schools in Durham and have been to Lindisfarne as a group also. It has been an amazing experience. Lows are the deadlines for essays as life events often interfere and take over my thoughts, but I have survived and all my academic work is on track or completed.
Married to Philip since 1985 although I have also been divorced (1981). I have two grown up children, Lynsay who is 27 and Dan who is 25, between them they have 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys and of course I am on 'nana-duty' often as I can’t resist them. As a family (and this includes partners, in laws and other hangers on), we love each other, support each other, cry together and laugh a lot which is probably the secret of our success.
Chris Lawton will be ordained deacon this Petertide
Before training at Cranmer Hall I worked as a rural mission and youth worker for a benefice of 6 churches in Salisbury Diocese and before that as a city missioner in Gloucester. My wife Siân is currently studying at Cranmer as an undergraduate and hopes to complete her degree in Theology, Ministry and Mission next year.
We arrived in Wensleydale with four boys and a very bouncy Springer Spaniel; we are looking forward to being back in the countryside after the last two years living next to the main road into Durham.
Since teenage years I have been inspired by the call in Mathew 25 to stand with those in need and for the last few years have been working out what it might mean to live according to Micah 6:8 – ‘act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God’. I'm looking forward to starting the next stage in my training, working with Revd Michael Hepper and the parishes of St. Matthew's, Leyburn with St. John the Evangelist, Bellerby.
Sandra Neale will be ordained priest this Petertide
Sandra has spent a wonderful year serving in the parishes of St Oswald’s, Chapel Green and All Saints, Horton.
She says that it has been a joy and a privilege to share in the ministry of these two parishes with her training incumbent Stephen Treasure, and it has exceeded all her expectations for her Deacon’s year.
She now looks forward to continuing her training with him in the next few years, growing in confidence, spirituality and benefitting from his immense experience.
It remains her hope in the future to return to her home parish of Queensbury and continue her ministry there.
Stephen Oakley will be ordained priest this Petertide
My faith journey began as a young lad with St. Thomas’s Church, Featherstone. Some years later I became an active member of St. Mary Magdalene Church, Lundwood, Barnsley. This led me to train as a Reader and to think about ordained ministry. The Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield, has also accompanied me on my journey with Christ and I have now become a Companion of the Community. During this time I was helped to discern my call to ordained ministry, especially, Ministry to the Sick. This led me to explore parish ministry and hospital ministry, General and Psychiatric, both on the ground and in my theological studies with Wakefield School of Ministry and later the Yorkshire Ministry Course.
Since ordination, as Deacon, I have been serving two churches St. Mary Magdalene, Lundwood and St. Paul, Monk Bretton; also I have been admitted into the Collage of Health Care Chaplains. What I enjoy most about ordained ministry is the many opportunities I get to celebrate and share my faith both in Church and in the parish and with other faiths. For example, both churches regularly visit their local Care Homes and support Barnsley Churches Together Drop-in Project and other people-centred organisations. Alongside of my parish ministry I work as a Mental Health hospital chaplain at Fieldhead Hospital, Wakefield, 15 hours a week as a bank staff member. This ministry, of pastoral, spiritual and religious care, is important to me, because, like my parish ministry it is a privilege to listen to, and accompany those who are seeking refreshment, reassurance and hope.
Christopher Phillips will be ordained priest this Petertide
Since his ordination, Chris has settled well into Ilkley life, and especially into the life of St Margaret’s.
Major highlights have been his first High Mass as a Deacon; his first solo funeral; the annual parish outing (to Liverpool); being involved in the parish’s enquirers’ and confirmation courses and seeing eleven people come to confirmation at the climax of these; his establishment of a fellowship and reflection group at a local café; and the delivery of the parish’s Lent Course (on the seven Sacraments).
Chris has also been involved in the development of St Margaret’s third Mission Action Plan, and serves on both Deanery and Diocesan Synods. Day by day, Chris has become ever more strongly aware of God’s call to priestly ministry, and comes to this point with a sense of awe and unworthiness, yet confident that God will supply the needful gift of grace to become what this past year has affirmed that he was made for.
Stephen Proudlove to be ordained deacon this Petertide
Steve Proudlove will serve in the parish of All Saints, Ilkley, after training for ordination at Ridley Hall College where he read for a Certificate in Theology for Ministry and an MA in Christian Theology.
Steve is married to Elaine and they have two children, Samuel and Phoebe.
Prior to ordination he worked in the pharmaceutical industry for ten years, latterly for a Manx consultancy company in the area of medicines safety. Steve’s hobbies include sports such as football, rock climbing and mountaineering as well as playing the flute, and socialising with friends.
Jenny Ramsden will be ordained deacon this Petertide
Jenny will serve in the parishes of East Riddlesden and East Morton.
She trained for ordination with the Yorkshire Ministry Course, based at Mirfield, where she read for an MA in Ministry and Theology. Jenny is married to Richard and they have two children, Ethan aged 11 and Lara aged 7.
Jenny works as a Fresh Expressions Minister to young people, and thoroughly enjoys helping young people to explore their faith, and engaging them in worship in new and exciting ways. Jenny is also particularly interested in inter-faith work. She likes to spend her spare time exploring Yorkshire with her family, and, whenever possible, travelling further afield - Jenny and her family have recently returned from a trip to Oman in Arabia!
Ben Randall will be ordained deacon this Petertide
Ben is married to Rebekah and father of Poppy – having trained at Ridley Hall in Cambridge, he will serve his curacy at the Parish Church of St Lawrence and St Paul Pudsey.
Ben was formerly a cadet of R.M.A. Sandhurst and a postgraduate student at the Peace Studies School in Bradford. Whilst discerning his vocation he spent some time working in the Parish of Holy Trinity, Idle.
An amateur historian of the Crusades, Ben also enjoys comic books and loves cheese!
Linda Robinson will be ordained deacon this Petertide
The first prompting to ordination came from a remark from a university careers officer which lay dormant for many years as my life underwent a series of metamorphoses. Brought up in the Brethren tradition, with no regrets, my parents lived and breathed the Bible, and theological reflection before the term became fashionable. Further inspiration came from the head of my church primary school who instilled a love of the Book of Common Prayer and from my A level English teacher, one of the first women Anglican priests.
Immediately after leaving school , I met my husband, Ian, on a CSSM ( Come Single Soon Married) beach mission in Criccieth. After a stint in a charismatic Baptist church in south Manchester, we found a home in Anglicanism during my time as an Anglican secondary headteacher in Lancashire. Ian became a reader before bowing to the call to ordination, prompted by the Anglican church in Malaga.
It was much easier to let him do it and ignore the mutterings from colleagues, friends and parishioners, and turn the collar round. Confronted with major health issues, the persistent and irresistible call appeared ever more ‘crackers’, a technical term I used at my BAP, which earned the riposte God is in the business of crackers! So here I am, about to become Ian’s curate in Bedale! Crackers or what? But to be serious God never ceases to surprise and provide, always with love and grace.
Stephen Rochell will be ordained deacon this Petertide
July 5th 2014 is the big day. Le Grand Depart yes but also I will be ordained Deacon in Wakefield Cathedral. Two disconnected events on the same day and yet the start of two journeys.
For the last three years I have been a student on the Yorkshire Ministry Course based at Mirfield. The theological learning has been mind expanding and at times mind boggling but it is a journey I have shared with others. It is my fellow ordinands that have provided a great source of learning and strength. Listening to their stories and sharing their ups and downs has been for me one of the joys of the training.
I have had the great privilege of spending time on placement in Tanzania working alongside and learning from the development team working for the diocese in Mara, one of our link dioceses.
As I approach ordination I look forward with excitement and a little nervousness to the start of my ministry serving the communities of Hartshead, Roberttown, Hightown and Scholes in the Huddersfield Episcopal Area.
Beverley Sproats will be ordained priest this Petertide
Beverley is serving her curacy in the Parish of St. John, Yeadon. She is married to Graeme, who recently started working at Christians Against Poverty in Bradford and they have three children aged 8, 10 and 13.
Beverley regularly leads worship, preaches and conducts funerals and baptisms; on one occasion including a Godparent from Ukraine via Skype! She is preparing couples for marriage and will conduct her first wedding in September.
Beverley has become a regular on the school assembly circuit and had great fun recreating the storm on the lake using percussion instruments! She co-ordinates the children and young people's ministries, and had the joy of seeing people saved during a recent Alpha course. As part of the prayer ministry team she has stepped out in faith to be involved in ‘Healing on the Streets’ in Yeadon. Beverley is studying for an MA as part of her Initial Ministerial Education.
Charlene Smith will be ordained deacon this Petertide
My call to vocation became real when I was accepted to train for ordination in 2012. I have just completed two years at the college of the Resurrection Mirfield. The time there has been the most wonderful experience in so many ways.
I now look forward to serve the people of Meltham in my curacy, holding fast to God's gift of vocation.
Catherine Thatcher (Cat) will be ordained deacon this Petertide
I was brought up in Manchester, and have worked for a variety of public sector organisations, moving to Bradford in 2003 to work in the NHS. Having clung on through three NHS reorganisations, and steeling myself for a fourth, I heard God's call to ordained ministry in 2010, something that was both daunting and a relief at the same time! Since 2012 I have been back in Cambridge, training for ordination at Westcott House.
When not studying, I'm happy watching rugby, football and cricket, supporting Sale, Liverpool and Lancashire, for which my Yorkshire friends are extremely forgiving. I love eating out with friends, and like to consider myself a fine judge of red wine. I relax by playing the piano and reading. I'm also a proud aunt to Rosie and Charlotte, who give me plenty to cheer and laugh at.
Cat will serve her curacy in the Parish of Bradford St Peter. – Bradford Cathedral.
Ian Widdowson will be ordained priest this Petertide
In serving as an assistant curate in the parishes of Christ Church, Skipton with St. Mary’s, Carleton, Ian has enjoyed broadening his experience not only of assisting at the Sunday and the weekday services but also of leading Evening Prayer as well as preaching and leading intercessions.
However the most wonderful part of the curacy for Ian has been that of being ‘with’ people on their individual spiritual journeys, of talking with them, of taking communion to people in their homes, and of being alongside people in the occasional offices of baptism or funeral when they are at their happiest or saddest.
Ian is also continuing to study for a foundation degree in Theology and Ministry with York St. John University and hopes to complete this next year.