Meet our new deacons to be ordained at Wakefield Cathedral this month

Ordinations of our new deacons will take place at Wakefield Cathedral at the end of this month with 15 new folk ready to work across the diocese.

Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines will conduct two ordination services at 11am and 3pm on Saturday, June 29 and below are introductions to all those preparing to serve, in their own words.


Rachel Ford

My name’s Rachel and I am in the final few months of ordination training at St. Hild College, Mirfield. I spent just over 10 years working as a primary school teacher prior to training, most of them in Idle, north Bradford – where we did do some work, I promise!

I am married to Alex, who I met at university, and we have one daughter – Martha – who is two years old and an absolute delight... most days anyway.

I really enjoy a good book, a walk in the countryside and spending time with friends and family – preferably in a nice café or over a good meal! We’re all really excited about the move to Horsforth St. Margaret’s, and are looking forward to getting to know the church and wider community there.



Sarah Harrison

Sarah was born in Lincolnshire and mainly grew up in Wales. She studied Music at university in Bangor, plays a variety of instruments and enjoys singing. She has worked as a teacher but was director of music in a church in the North East for over six years; has been a vicar’s PA and medical secretary but not all at the same time! Sarah is currently training for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham and is a Leeds ordinand, having lived previously in Harrogate. Sarah enjoys a good cup of Yorkshire Tea and a slice of cake.

Anthony Bennett

Having moved up to West Yorkshire 20 years ago, I now live in Oxenhope with my wife Sam and two daughters, Amy and Zoe. I met Sam 30 years ago when we were both students at Sheffield University. I studied Natural Environmental Science and went on to further study at Cranfield University before starting work in the water industry designing and commissioning systems to treat water for various industries. After Zoe was born in 2000, I started to work for myself, doing some water consultancy work and writing for magazines and journals about environmental issues. I also became a school governor and then served as chair of governors in two Church of England schools within Bradford. It was during that work that I first heard the calling to ordained ministry. I started explorations in 2014 after a profound spiritual experience climbing Kilimanjaro. I had got altitude sickness, but a good friend helped me to the summit and got me down off the mountain safely, exclaiming that I had ‘important work to do in the Church!” Having completed two years of the diocese’s foundation course in theology, ministry and mission, I was recommended for ordination training and started at St Mellitus College in 2017, where I have been studying their full-time contextualised course. The course has combined academic study at Liverpool Cathedral each week, alongside a long-term placement in the Parish of Keighley. I am very much looking forward to taking up my role as Assistant Curate in the parishes of Haworth and Cross Roads-cum-Lees, following my ordination as deacon in June.





Kathryn Goldsmith

I’m training for ordination at the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield and enjoying being part of a college with a monastic ethos (we join in worship with the Brothers of the Community of the Resurrection). As part of my training I am studying for an MA in Theology and Ministry, but this is not the only degree I’ve been doing recently:

I have completed a PhD in Computational Astrophysics at the University of Leeds, where I was part of the Astrophysics Research Group.

Indeed, it was the PhD which brought me up to Yorkshire, and I lived not far from Ilkley whilst discerning where and what God was calling me to be. I’ve been up here for four and a half years and, whilst I’ll always be classed as a Southerner, I have a great affection for West Yorkshire and its people and am excited to be moving to Chapelthorpe to begin my ministry.

In previous years I’ve worked as a verger at Wells Cathedral in Somerset, managed bishops’ staffing and expenditure for the Church Commissioners, and worked for the Crown Nominations Commission in the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments office at Lambeth Palace, where I worked closely with colleagues at 10 Downing Street.

I very much look forward to worshipping and working with the people of St James the Great, Chapelthorpe and getting to know the parish.





Sian Lawton

I am going to be serving my title post in Benefice of Masham united with Healey and West Tanfield with Well with Snape and North Stainley. I have been training at St Mellitus North West in Liverpool for the past two years on the MA Christian Leadership Program. 

I am married to Chris, who is the Rector of a set of Neighbouring Parishes and we have 4 children Llewelyn ( 20) Emrys (19) Arwyn (18) and Bleddyn (10). 

We also have 2 Springer Spaniels called Cuthbert and Ruan.  I love living in the rural world and I am also a Chaplain at the Auction mart in Leyburn. I love being creative and enjoy many different and varied crafts.

Pete Gunstone

Peter Gunstone was born in Manchester and read music at the University of Leeds and the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. He then worked as a freelance conductor, organist, and harpsichordist, taught music, and was Music Director at his local church for some years before moving to North Devon to join the Lee Abbey Community, where he was responsible for music and was involved in the planning, preparation and delivery of guest programmes. He was then Music Director for St Andrew’s Church, North Oxford and as a freelance worship leader and consultant before discerning a call to ordained ministry. He has prepared for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham. Peter is married to Kirsten and they enjoy being outdoors with their dog, Senka. They are looking forward to getting to know the city of Bradford and exploring the magnificent county of Yorkshire!





Jay Hewitt

Hello, my name is Jay Hewitt and I am 32 years old. I was sponsored for ordination by Norwich Cathedral, where I have worshipped since the age of 17 and have now completed my three years of training for ministry at St Stephens House, Oxford. I will be serving my future title in Central Barnsley.

I came to Christian faith in a conservative evangelical tradition in the United States of America, where I lived for a time during my childhood. At the age of 13 I was introduced to the Catholic tradition of the Church of England and worshipped in our local parish church, dedicated to The Assumption of the Virgin Mary in the town of Attleborough, Norfolk.

I was subsequently received and Confirmed into the Church of England on 17th November 2001, by the Lord Bishop of Norwich Graham James in Norwich Cathedral. This was also the age I began to first feel a sense of call to ministry.

Prior to beginning my training at St Stephen’s House, I was a business manager for Tom Ford. Though based in Norwich, worked nationally across the UK and Ireland.

I am part of a large family Including four brothers and two sisters.

I am a keen historian and have a particular fascination for Medieval English history, 17th& 18th Century French History, 19th-Century Maritime History, Egyptology and Greco-Roman Myth and History. 


Mike Green

I will serve at St Saviour’s Church, Brownhill, Birstall in the Huddersfield Episcopal Area after training at St Mellitus College North West in Liverpool, reading for a BA, and having a 3 year parish placement, alongside the college training, at Holy Trinity Bingley with St Wilfrid Gilstead.

Born and brought up in Cleethorpes until I was about 23, I then moved with my work ending up in Hull, until I met my wife, Esther. We then lived in York before moving to Burley in Wharfedale where we have been for nearly ten years, bringing up our young children.

Prior to ordination I started work as an apprentice Instrumentation & Electrical Engineer, working my way up to be an Engineering Manager at a leading Electrical Engineering company in Leeds.

In our spare time we enjoy spending time as a family and travelling, especially on public transport!


Judith Clark

My name is Judith Clark, I am a Leeds ordinand and for the last three years I have been training for ordination at Ripon College Cuddesdon in Oxfordshire. I am originally from Lancashire, growing up in Burnley, then the Ribble Valley. However, my parents have been living in North Yorkshire now for ten years. 

Alongside my ordination training, I have been reading for a Dphil (PhD) through Oriel College at The University of Oxford which I shall be finishing during Curacy. My thesis focuses on the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, which is a liturgical document that was discovered amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls and dates from the Second Temple Period. I spent four months last year living and working in Jerusalem which was an excellent opportunity and a wonderful experience.

The two years before I started ordination training were spent working as a Pastoral Assistant for the Joint Benefice of St Michael and All Angels, Beckwithshaw and St. Robert of Knaresborough Pannal. Prior to this, I was reading for my Undergraduate Degree in Religions & Theology, followed by my M.A Degree in Biblical Studies, both from The University of Manchester.

I love travelling and enjoy the thrill of discovering new places as much as uncovering the ‘new’ when re-visiting old favourites. Time spent with family and friends, going to the theatre or cinema, trying different restaurants, reading, listening to music, drama and dancing are also all pastimes which I enjoy – when the opportunity arises!



Dan Miles

My name’s Dan and I have been training for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. 

Previously I was a primary school teacher (eight years in total) working in central Bradford. 

I grew up in Essex but consider myself as an honorary northerner having moved to York for university in 2003 and realised that Yorkshire really is God’s own country. 

I enjoy exercise and you will find me doing something energetic most days, as well as enjoying a well-earned coffee in a local café!  I am really excited to be moving to the Erringden Benefice in June getting to know the community and seeing God move there.



Julia Wilkins

I am very excited about moving to Leeds this summer and being part of the team at St George’s as Assistant Curate.  My husband Rich, and our children Molly (11) and Eleanor (9) and our dog Poppy, will of course be moving too and are equally looking forward to the adventure. 

I have been studying as an Ordinand at St Hild in Sheffield for the past 3 years, alongside working for St James’ and St Luke’s Church’s in Glossop as their Schools and Young Families Outreach Pastor.

Whilst I have been studying hard, Rich, Molly, Ellie and Poppy have passed much of the time kayaking and wild camping. 

Our family love adventure, especially going for family walks and camping holidays.  Rich is a science teacher and a runner.  Molly plays the piano and sings.  Ellie enjoys gymnastics and running.  I delight in community, organising, sharing stories about God’s goodness, and having a cup of tea and a natter!  

Chris Balding

Chris is married to Rebeca and they have two children, Theo and a very new baby called Zipporah.  They’ve spent the last couple of years in Cambridge where Chris has been training for ordination at Ridley Hall.  Prior to that Chris was one of the student pastors at St George’s in the city centre of Leeds.  

That is where Chris and Beca met while serving as interns.  

Chris also spent some time in Leeds working as a sales assistant in a clothes shop.

Before moving to Leeds, Chris studied Mechanical Engineering at Sheffield University where he was heavily involved in the Christian Union.  He grew up in Chislehurst where his faith was sparked and nurtured through an incredible youth group and various CPAS Ventures summer camps.  Chris and Beca are very much looking forward to their return to Leeds. 

He enjoys gardening, especially mowing the lawn, brewing and drinking wine, and cycling.

Sally Pickering

Hello I am Sally Pickering.  I live in Ilkley with my husband Malcolm. 

We have three grown up children who are often popping back home. 

We are quite an outdoor family, running, cycling, walking, canoeing and swimming and cross country skiing when it snows! 

I have been an Educational Psychologist for the past 20 years and am very much looking forward to starting my curacy.

Debbie Nouwen (pictured right)

I am a proud Yorkshire lass born and bred.

I love the great outdoors and adventures of all kind. I've had three careers in life, the first as a cleaner and kitchen assistant.

The second, working with vulnerable people with complex needs. And latterly, supporting teams of volunteers who care for those who live and work around the inland waterways. 

My journey towards ordination has been an interesting one, and there is no one more surprised to be called into ordained ministry then me.

But then, God clearly has a sense of humour!

Jean-Louis Pecher

After attending Christ Church Upper Armley for 15 years, it is time for us to move to St Luke’s in Holbeck where I will be serving as Curate following ordination in the Church of England this June. I was born in Belgium, but over the years have had the privilege to live, study and work in many different countries with my amazing wife, Ruth, who is British. We have four wonderful children and two delightful granddaughters. We love caring for our daughter who has complex needs and spending time with friends and family, here and abroad. Over the years, I have been a programmer, a holiday park manager, a programme director, a pastor, a business consultant and an eternal student. I enjoy technology, reading and flying. I am really looking forward to meeting new friends and discovering Leeds 11.



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