14 candidates were ordained over the weekend to serve in parishes across the Diocese.
Five candidates have completed their first year and were ordained Priest in the Cathedral on Saturday; they are now able to preside at the Holy Communion. A further nine candidates were ordained Deacon on Sunday and are entering their first year of training as a curate.
The ordination services were led by the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge or the Bishop of Dudley, Martin Gorick. The Revd Canon Dr Georgina Byrne, Anglican Tutor at Queen’s Theological College in Birmingham and former Residentiary Canon of Worcester Cathedral, will be preaching having led the pre-ordination retreat.
- Giles Joiner, who will serve in the Saltway Team, Droitwich
- James Williams, who will serve in Malvern Link with Cowleigh
- Sarah Hewitt, who will serve at St Stephen’s in the Redditch Holy Trinity Team
- Paul Wilcox, who will serve in the West Worcester Beacon Group
- Adam Wharton, who will serve at Malvern College and Great Malvern Priory
- Rachel Colthurst, who will serve in the Severnside Parishes
- Sarah Roberts-Malpass, who will serve at St. Thomas’ Church in Stourbridge
- Caroline Green, who will serve in the benefice of Evesham w Norton & Lenchwick
- Andy Green, who will serve in the benefice of Evesham w Norton & Lenchwick
- Shaun Armstrong serving in the Kidderminster Ismere Team
- Melissa Beynon serving in the Halas Team in Halesowen
- Calum Burke serving at be Top Church (St Thomas & St. Luke), Dudley
- Fraser Oates serving at All Saints in Worcester
- Richard Sandland serving in the Bromsgrove Team.
Bishop John said: “These new deacons and priests will be a wonderful blessing to the communities where they will be ministering - to everyone, not just Christians. It is a great privilege to be able to ordain them and I pray for God’s rich blessing upon them as they go out and seek to be a blessing to others.”
Quotes and background information from the candidates:
Giles Joiner (Droitwich Team)
I initially completed a degree in theology and youthwork at Regents College in Malvern and spent a year as an intern heading up the youth work at All Saints’ Church in Worcester. After this, I was unable to find a full-time youth worker job and began working at the Crown Court in Worcester. It was here that my journey to ordination really began. I came into contact with a wide range of people and I felt that God was asking me not just to serve one group, but everyone through becoming a Church of England Priest.
After being recommended for training, I started at St Mellitus Northwest (now Emmanuel Theological College), studying one day a week there while also spending time gaining practical experience with Severnside Parishes (Kempsey, Norton & Severn Stoke). It was great to get a sense of the wide variety of parish life. The pandemic hit soon after I started training and it was brilliant to see the community coming together to support each other and the church being at the centre of the response, working with the local council and others. I’ve also enjoyed the connection with the local schools, taking assemblies both online and in school.
I’m excited about serving my curacy in the Saltway parishes in Droitwich, working alongside Laura and Nigel. It will be a truly humbling experience for me to put on a dog collar and be a visible witness to the church. I see it as a privilege to be ordained and have the opportunity to go out and meet people, telling them about the love God has for them and journeying with them. Before my degree I spent some time travelling and volunteered at the ‘School of Hope’ in South Africa. That taught me the importance of being the light in places where things are challenging – the Church can be that light and I hope that I can bring some of that light throughout my ministry.
James Williams (Malvern Link with Cowleigh)
I grew up and discovered Jesus in the Pentecostal church, were I trained, served as part of a church planting team, and was ordained as a chaplain to YMCA Worcestershire. So, it is still somewhat surprising that I find myself approaching ordination in the Church of England.
Growing up I had no real sense of what I might do with my life, other than to follow the expected path and take a job in our family business. However, one crisis after another swiftly dismantled that vision of the future.
With time to burn I began volunteering at my home church, in the office at first, but with a bit of arm twisting this escalated into Tuesday and Friday nights at the youth group – and I loved it! I loved spending time with young people who were so passionate about Jesus, who felt God’s presence and dedicated their lives to live for him. And so there seemed no greater course correction then to get trained up and to try living my life that way.
In ministry I have been blessed to work predominantly amongst young people, and particularly those who might never darken the doorstep of a church. My work at YMCA and in church planting enabled me to witness to the positive, holistic and transformative power of faith, whether that be through the prayerful consideration of new projects and programmes, or direct interaction with people who sense there might be something more to life.
For me, faith is a constant journey of discovery. It’s a journey that brings me face to face with my weaknesses, stretches me to trust God’s plans, and teaches me to be watchful for sparks of possibility even in impossible situations. It’s a rugged pathway, narrow at points, and full of stumbling blocks - which I so often trip up on. But walk the road for a time and you begin to identify instants of clarity; like gazing on the horizon from the top of a hill or passing through a clearing in the wood – it is in these moments that you realise the journey is worthwhile.
In 2015 I married Sarah and we’ve done our best to walk this journey of faith together, always trying hard to stay connected with those marginalised in our communities. I’m hugely excited to be coming back to Malvern and working with the people of Malvern Link with Cowleigh. I’m looking forward to fully immersing myself into the life of parish ministry, and particularly to discover, and tune into, those unexpected moments, where God is working out his purpose to bring hope, possibility and a brighter future.
Sarah Hewitt (St Stephen’s Church, Redditch)
I first walked into an Anglican Church in 1996 and found my spiritual home amongst the wonderfully supportive community there. It was there that I first learned about Celtic spirituality and the beauty of silence. The church had every kind of worship you can imagine going on and a large team of lay ministers working collaboratively with the husband and wife team vicars. The theme of my Christian life could be entitled ‘doing everything backwards’ because I soon became involved in leading worship, preaching and setting up all kinds of alternative worship services (as they were called back then). It was only after this that I then trained for Reader Ministry even though I’d been doing it for over two years.
In 2013 I moved into a full-time lay stipendiary post as a Missioner (one of only two such posts in the diocese) which enabled me to create new opportunities for community, worship and engage those outside of the inherited church in Godly conversations, and last year I started my ordination training.
It is hard to say when this ordination journey began, maybe even before I was born, I have my theories, but it’s certainly been almost three decades and it has not been easy or straightforward. I am to be ordained as a Pioneer Minister which means I will be looking to create community with those who may never step inside a church. Pioneers look for opportunities to engage in mission on the outside of the church boundaries and so this is what I will be doing during my curacy with St. Stephens, part of the Holy Trinity ministry team in Redditch. I do not know what shape that will take yet and that is kind of the whole point.
I am so excited to see where the Holy Spirit will lead and I cannot wait to start this new adventure with God in Redditch.
Paul Wilcox (West Worcester Beacon Group)
I grew up near Lichfield, Staffordshire, and after a degree in History I went back to teach in my old secondary school, which I loved! Following a visit from a Scripture Union Schools’ Worker, I then left teaching (much to everyone’s amazement) after 12 years, and worked for a succession of Christian charities including SU, Covenanters and Youth for Christ. In 2004, however, my wife Jane and I were invited to come and help at All Saints, Worcester, where my great friend and fellow pilgrim, Paul Swann had become Vicar. Jane and I felt that we had heard the ‘Macedonian Call’ and relocated lock, stock and barrel, to Worcester at the beginning of September 2004. We also have three children, Nathan, Emma and Matt, who at that stage were 12, 10 and 1! It was a massive faith adventure and we never looked back.
At the same time as moving to Worcester, I also stepped out of full-time paid work and embarked on a freelance mentoring, coaching and lecturing ministry. All Saints was a perfect base for this, and I also got stuck in there with youth work, pastoral care, wardening and anything else where I felt I could usefully chip in. All Saints was our ‘home’ until my sabbatical in 2018 when I heard God clearly challenge me about why I was driving past the village church in Hallow to go to church in the city, so I subsequently moved to Hallow church. Shortly after that I was encouraged to consider ordination training at the grand old age of 62 and I’ve had the time of my life these last two years at Ripon College, Cuddesdon.
I am passionately committed to rural ministry and feel we need to start telling a new story about how God is at work in the countryside and inviting us to partner with him. Rural ministry is highly relational, cannot be rushed, and the churches are often ‘extra classrooms’ for the village schools. Through initiatives like ‘Open the Book’ we are seeing great leaps forward in the faith of children, young people and families and their awareness of God’s love is growing all the time.
I am looking forward to sitting in the village pub, wearing my collar, and waiting to see what happens!
Adam Wharton (Malvern College)
‘Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.’ Hosea 10:12
A short time ago, I spent time on a ‘Quiet Day’, which provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the incredible privilege of two years of part-time theological training at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, as well as consider my future! I looked up bible verses on the theme of time and felt drawn to the passage above - Hosea 10:12. I felt God inviting me to align myself to His purposes; in particular, to enter this ‘new season’ by allowing Him to break up my ‘fallow ground’.
I felt wonderfully encouraged as I sought the Lord and looked forward to the prospect of serving Him in two distinct spheres: first, at Malvern College as Assistant Chaplain and teacher of Religious Studies and Philosophy, and secondly, as a part-time curate at The Priory Church, Malvern.
I reflected on how good the Lord has been to me. Over twenty years ago, I went on a CPAS Discerning Ministry Weekend with my wife, Ruth. We both decided that ministry in the Church of England would be a valuable way to exercise my gifting, but not yet! In the interim period, the Lord Jesus has kept us, and we have been very blessed with five wonderful children. We have been House-parents in a boarding school for 12 years of my twenty-four years as a teacher.
Whilst I continue to love serving Christ in school, Hosea 10:12 confirmed to me that it is time to develop ministry skills in a parish context and I am very much looking forward to getting to know and serve local Christians in Malvern, and work with my training incumbent, the Reverend Rod Corke, and his team.
Rachel Colthurst (Severnside Parishes)
Life is full of surprises! Growing up as a vicar’s daughter – which certainly undermined my street cred at times – I can’t believe I find myself following in my dear Dad’s footsteps! God, it seems, has a funny sense of humour! Becoming ordained is certainly a far cry from my younger years during which I was a nurse specialist, a stay-at-home mum for a while and, more recently, prior to ordination training, a teaching assistant at our local village school.
Ironically, it was the liturgy at my brother-in-law’s ordination in 2015 through which God grabbed my attention and began to grow in me a desire to serve him wholeheartedly, to journey with others, particularly those of no faith or those on ‘the edges,’ to see people as God sees them and make his love known. And so began my journey to ordination – albeit one tentative step at a time, but trusting that ‘he who has promised is faithful’ (Hebrews 10:23).
Having completed my training at St Mellitus College, which has been both stretching and shaping, I’m really looking forward to serving my curacy amongst the Severnside Parishes and working there as a Pastoral Support Worker. I love that they describe themselves as people who ‘celebrate life together through sharing in friendship, faith and fun’ – three things which I also feel passionately about! I’m excited to be joining in with all God is already doing in and through their communities, to journeying together, growing deeper in our faith, building relationships, and finding ways to share the love of Jesus.
I’m married to Rich, an IT project manager, and we have four children who have all cheered me on and believed in me on this road to ordination – for which I am so grateful. As I head into this new season, taking this next step of faith, I am conscious both of my need of God’s help and grace, but also of his faithfulness and am in no doubt that he will continue to surprise me along the way!
Sarah Roberts-Malpass (St Thomas Church, Stourbridge)
Born in Birmingham and brought up in nearby Smethwick, I crossed the border to the Black Country after getting married nearly 22 years ago. It was the move to the Black Country that saw me heading back to the church of my childhood when they needed an organist. Always open to new suggestions and challenges, I thought it might be fun to do even though I couldn't play organ (more intimidating than the piano I am familiar with, and vastly different to the French Horn I was busy teaching and freelancing with!). Having said I'd give it a go, I ended up instead playing for 17 years.
Although brought up in the church, I had drifted to the fringe of church life, but I was surprised how quickly I felt as though I had come home, a sense of rightness in offering something in this way. Not just to that church, but the sense of belonging to something much bigger, and being held by something much greater than the transient ever-changing existence that is everyday life. God was holding me all that time, though I hadn't always realised it, and God used my gift of music to put me in the place where I might be receptive to what else was yet to emerge and to flourish.
Over the years of playing for Sunday services, weddings and for funerals, I began to recognise how God moves in people’s lives, and to see how much faith shapes people’s lives. In short, I began to listen more attentively - not just being the one making the noise - and began to consider seriously what God wanted me to do. I tentatively began to take an active role in other aspects of church life, beginning to plan and lead some services, being on the PCC and then churchwarden.
I batted away the idea of ordination for many years, not considering that I could be called to that, In fact I looked at pretty much any other career I could think of connected to the church, all the time thinking that I'd find the right fit, but that wasn't meant to be, yet nothing felt authentic to me. When others started to query if I'd considered ordained ministry, I conceded, having realised I had got to the point I really had to do something about it, and began exploring the possibility, all the time thinking that I'd just test out my vocation, surprised frequently by how others too could recognise my calling.
Throughout my time of discernment and initial training I have been supported by my patient family and some wonderfully affirming friends, and it will be a real joy that many are able to attend my ordination service, and that they can witness the start of this next phase.
I am looking forward immensely to being ordained, to getting stuck in with the variety of ways I am and will be called to serve, as I begin my curacy among the people of Stourbridge, an area I know well, but in a role that is new to me. I hope to listen deeply to hear where God is moving, as I come alongside people in their joys and sorrows, and to proclaim the Gospel with words and action seeking ways to express hospitality to all, so all might be welcomed, be valued and know something of the love of God.
Caroline Green (St Egwin’s Church, Evesham)
Having lived with the reassurance of God’s presence in my life since I was baptised as a baby, at 52 I decided to be confirmed. A declaration of the faith I had no doubts about. In 2008 we began worship at St Egwins, following this I was enlisted to the flower rota, the cleaning rota, voted onto PCC, became Pastoral Authorised lay minister for the Benefice and for the last 7 years have been Churchwarden, also helping out at All Saints 8 o’clock service.
My work was as a Practice Manager at a GP Surgery, but managing family commitments became of great concern to me as my family has always been close knit and an important part of my life. During this time, seeing others move towards their calling, I prayed to be led to where mine could be. Was I destined to continue as Churchwarden, a ministry in itself?
I retired early as I needed more time for family commitments intending to return to professional dressmaking, or so I thought. In May 2021 I received an email which made my heart leap literally. Would I like to join the Caleb Stream a fast track pilot scheme for older people with ministerial experience? The rest was a whirlwind of interviews, train trips every month to London, zoom teaching, diocesan discernment and the most amazing fellowship with our group and the rest of the college of St Mellitus, a wonderful place to learn. The lecturers included Jane Williams the wife of Archbishop Rowan Williams, who was very informative with a great sense of humour! I realised that my leaving work was God’s intention too. Now I had time to care and to serve.
This gave me a wonderful opportunity to engage more closely with the community and, when small churches are struggling to sustain services, I can be there to continue worship and support at All Saints and serve the St Egwin’s congregation and community, which have given me so much over the years.
I am so grateful for the support of my Incumbent Andrew and Assistant Director of Ordinands Philip, I still can’t believe the opportunity I have been given and will do my very best to serve as God intended in Evesham and Norton and Lenchwick.
Andy Green (St Egwin’s Church, Evesham)
I was born to a Christian family and baptised as a baby and have always known that God was at my side, particularly in my 31 years as a Police Officer with the Warwickshire Constabulary. This was a great source of comfort and strength. Although I didn’t engage in regular public worship, on reflection I now realise that some of the challenges I faced were part of God’s preparation for His future plans!
Following retirement from the police, I became a long-distance coach driver for National Express. My faith continued to support me in many ways and after settling down in Norton and Lenchwick in Worcestershire I was drawn back to church by the sound of the bells of St Egwin’s. I became a regular worshipper and active member of the congregation. After a while, others began to suggest to me that I might be called to a ministry role and after resisting for quite a while, I had to agree that perhaps God was ‘working my purpose out’!!
I became an Authorised Lay Minister, Worship Leader and later trained for Licensed Lay Ministry.
During this time, I sensed a calling towards Hospital Chaplaincy and was accepted as a volunteer chaplain at Evesham Community Hospital. I was Licensed as a Lay Minister in 2016 by which time my hospital chaplaincy had evolved to become a professional appointment. I am now Lead Chaplain for Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, leading a chaplaincy team for seven Community Hospitals and seven Mental Health Units.
In May 2020 I received an email that was to transform my life. For the last 12 months, I have been part of a new pathway to become a self-supporting priest, which was aimed specifically at Mature ministers with a long history of church, in a rural setting. I have attended St Mellitus College in London with further training and preparation arranged through this diocese. The scheme was called ‘The Caleb Stream’ after the biblical character Caleb who became a priest aged 85.
It will be an honour and privilege to serve God and the community as a Deacon in the Benefice of Evesham with Norton and Lenchwick as I journey towards becoming a priest in 2023. As an ordained minister, both my parish ministry and my role as NHS Chaplain will be enhanced, allowing me to provide a fuller range of services and support. I am excited, enthused and eternally grateful to have been given this opportunity.
Shaun Armstrong (Kidderminster Ismere Team)
My first year in ordained ministry as part of the Kidderminster Ismere team feels as if it’s been an extraordinary steep year of growth, not only spiritually, but in confidence, too.
I have been welcomed and have been fully supported serving as a Deacon, not only by my ministerial team but the congregations and communities I have served. I have lost count of the offers of support, encouragement and blessings I have received.
I have seen first-hand the fruits of engaging with local schools, sports clubs and local government, sharing the Gospel afresh in what have been uncertain times for us all.
However, uncertainty can bring opportunity and it’s amazing to see how God has strengthened my ministry through His grace and blessed those around me with His love.
Becoming a Priest now feels equally exciting as it is daunting, but ordination to the Priesthood will also bring an extremely special moment for me, where I shall be able to serve God’s people by sharing the body and blood of Christ, at His table.
Melissa Beynon (Halas Team, Halesowen)
I have really enjoyed my first year of Curacy, in a busy team of wonderful, talented Clergy, Readers and ALMs in Halesowen. There have been many many ‘firsts.’ First baptisms, funerals, school assemblies, attempts at swinging a thurible (the thing that holds the incense), and leading various services from a Brownies Christingle to a Book of Common Prayer evensong.
I’ve got to know many of the lovely parishioners of our five churches, and have enjoyed visiting some of them, and taking Home Communion to the housebound. It has been a joy to encourage people in their faith, and to be encouraged in return.
It feels so right being in ordained ministry. I’m learning so much about myself, deepening my walk with God, and I feel like I’m flourishing in following this calling.
It has been challenging, stretching and a much busier, broader role than I imagined. One of the things I love is that no two days are the same. But it’s a never-ending job, and I’m learning with the support of my Training Incumbent to manage my time, making space for rest, prayer and inspiration. I hope that good habits established in curacy will stay with me throughout my ministry.
Now I’m looking forward to the next stage; to being ordained Priest - and in particular to presiding at the Eucharist for the first time, as this was and is, a central theme in my calling.
Calum Burke (Top Church, Dudley)
I can’t quite believe I’m coming to the end of my first year in Dudley! It’s been a whirlwind!
I have learnt lots, and there have been lots of things I have enjoyed. I’ve loved getting to know the other faith communities in Dudley through various events and activities, especially during the Jubilee weekend. At the end of last year, I was appointed the first chaplain to Stourbridge Football Club. This has been an enriching and rewarding experience, and it has been an absolute honour to support the club in this way. The weekly Places of Welcome group at Top Church on a Wednesday afternoon has been a particular highlight and has been a good way to get to know people in the community, especially those who wouldn’t come to church.
I’m really looking forward to continuing and building upon the experiences and learnings of my deacon year as a priest. I’m excited to be ordained priest in a hopefully busy cathedral, having been ordained deacon in a half-full cathedral last year! There are many things about being a priest which I’m looking forward to. However, I’m especially looking forward to presiding at communion and inviting people to God’s table.
Fraser Oates (All Saints Church, Worcester)
The last year has flown by and it has certainly been 'in at the deep end'! I served 4 months in the Severnside Parishes with the Revd Canon Mark Badger and have been involved in establishing a new congregation there, and I have also been involved at St Peter's Inkberrow helping bolster their informal expression of church. I was elected to General Synod, which has been eye opening to say the least!
Closer to home, I have loved getting stuck into the wonderful and varied life, ministry, and mission of All Saints Worcester. Alongside all this I have finished year one of a doctorate in Church Planting in Post-Christendom Europe, which has been a joy and a privilege. I'm looking forward to ordination number two and stepping into the role of Presbyter because it is what the past six years of discernment and training have been leading towards! I am really excited about continuing to serve God and His Church.
Richard Sandland (Bromsgrove Team)
My Diaconal year has been crammed full of learning, but even more full of laughter, both moving in parallel; it’s been ludicrously good fun. I've learned how much I don't know, but that's fine, I have people around me who gently nudge me into the right place, or towards the right church or the right service booklet! It’s been great, at my great age, feeling like an entire Parish is mothering me. And such a lot of love.
But underlying it all has been an irresistible sense that all roads have been leading towards ordination as a priest - roads leading from the very first time a voice from somewhere behind me asked me 'what's it like to be a priest?' I wondered then where the question came from and why I was interested; all roads then led to the need to be confirmed; then to the need to look into it all a bit more, and then to study at Queens and then, amazingly, to be ordained in Christ.
The very last thing my lovely dad said to me before covid took him was 'be a good priest.' I shall do my best. All roads have led me to this point, and as my Training Incumbent says, all roads lead from this point too.