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15 people ordained as Deacon/ Priest over the weekend

Published: 2nd July 2023

candidates for ordination standing in a group outside holland house

15 candidates were ordained over the weekend to serve in parishes across the Diocese.

Nine 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 six 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 Archdeacon of Worcester, Robert Jones, will be preaching having led the pre-ordination retreat.

Deacons with Bishops John and Martin outside the cathedral after their ordinationOrdained Deacon:

  • Claire Cox, who will be serving at St Mary’s Church, Oldswinford, Stourbridge
  • Jamie Klair, who will be serving at All Saints with St Helens in Worcester
  • Jayne Parker, who will be serving in the benefice of Pershore w Pinvin, Wick & Birlingham
  • Ben Somervell, who will be serving at Holy Trinity Church in Old Hill, Dudley
  • Esther Treasure, who will be serving in the Dudley Team
  • Richard Wood, who will be serving in the Worcester Southeast Team

Ordained Priest:Priests standing with Bishops john and Martin outside the cathedral after their ordination

  • Rachel Colthurst, who serves in the Severnside Parishes
  • Andy Green, who serves in the benefice of Evesham w Norton & Lenchwick and at Evesham and Pershore Community Hospitals
  • Caroline Green, who serves in the benefice of Evesham w Norton & Lenchwick
  • Sarah Jayne Hewitt, who serves at St Stephen’s in the Redditch Holy Trinity Team
  • Giles Joiner, who serves in the Saltway Team, Droitwich
  • Sarah Roberts-Malpass, who serves at St. Thomas’ Church in Stourbridge
  • Adam Wharton, who serves at Malvern College and Great Malvern Priory
  • Paul Wilcox, who serves in the West Worcester Beacon Group
  • James Williams, who serves in Malvern Link with Cowleigh

Bishop John said: “One of the greatest privileges of being a bishop is ordaining new deacons and priests. Those ordained this weekend will be a great gift to everyone in the places they will be ministering, not just those who worship in their churches. I pray for God’s blessing upon them, that they may be a rich blessing to others.”

 

Quotes and background information from the candidates:

Deacons

Claire Cox (St Mary’s Church, Oldswinford, Stourbridge)  

Claire CoxI have lived most of my life in Gornal, Dudley, working for Cadbury in various roles for 23 years. I am married to Paul and have two children, Amelia who is 15, and Albert who is 11. I often share that my testimony comes in 3 parts: My fairy tale from birth to 30-years-old, life changing drama from when I was aged 30-40 and finally my calling at 39 years old.

After supporting my husband, Paul through horrific cancer, our journey of faith began when our son, Albert, was born very poorly. He was our miracle after being told we couldn’t have any more children. Bert was born critically ill, quickly put in an incubator, and transported by ambulance to Birmingham Children’s hospital. During these months, we all felt completely hopeless, and without even realising it, our faith was ignited. Albert was christened at our local church, St Andrew’s on The Straits in Gornal, and the congregation were a huge support, particularly lay minister Jan Humphries who would visit us all in hospital.

As I have been training for ordination, I have realised more and more how God has been preparing me for this all my life. I know Jesus has walked, and even carried me through so much in my life, but it was in those early moments with Bert that I first believed. I finally acknowledged God’s existence and my heart was opened to the glory and love of God. Our faith exploded when Paul and I were confirmed; I launched Singing Angels; a singing group in Gornal and Sedgley; hosted home groups; led readings and intercessions; became an altar server; and trained as an Authorised Lay Minister. At this time, I felt strongly called by God to be and do, feeling so hungry to do more and more.

I am now looking forward to ministering full time; learning all about the community of Old Swinford; exploring; and taking the needs of the people; to the church. I have a passion for interfaith, and ecumenical work, and I truly believe I am here to serve, I’m here to wash feet.

For me, the best news is we don’t have to earn God’s love, it is available to everyone, nothing we have done in the past can separate us from God. As Baby says to her Dad in dirty dancing; ‘there are a lot of things about me that aren't what you thought. But if you love me, you have to love all the things about me.’ And God does, he forgives, he heals.

Jamie Klair (All Saints with St Helens, Worcester)Jamie Klair

I am a newcomer to the diocese – I was born and raised in Surrey. I came to faith at the New Wine summer festival and was confirmed as a teenager. After studying theology at university, I moved to London to work in charitable fundraising. All along this journey I had sensed a call to ordained ministry, which was confirmed in the summer of 2020. I have spent the last two years of my formation in Oxford, and arrive with a young family to serve as a curate at All Saints Worcester.

I’m looking forward to getting to know the people of this city, and discerning the ways God wants to use me and shape me in this special place.

Jayne Parker (Pershore w Pinvin, Wick & Birlingham)

Jayne ParkerEvery journey starts with a single step, but sometimes it can be hard to pin-point precisely which step directed to you to this path and which path has brought you to this particular place; much less to where the path may take you. 

I do remember, a while back, I returned home from university and asked the local vicar about working in the church and what might be possible (women priests had only just about been invented).  He gently, but firmly, sent me away to “go and get some life experience” – sadly he didn’t expand on what or how much and so for 20 years I did just that. 

One day the (new) vicar asked for volunteers for rotas and that was a notable turning point.  I started to offer the intercessions and before I knew it, I was enrolled on to the Bishops Certificate course, having a marvellous time and talking to people about where this might be going.  I think it’s fair to say we did investigate all possible options before the lightbulb moment of realising I probably had enough of that experience I’d been sent to get and ought to think about using it as an ordained minister.  The response of others has been mostly positive and I may have heard the phrase “at last” a few times.  Sometimes others can see things which we cannot or dare not hope for.

My training has been part-time at the Queens Foundation in Birmingham whilst I have continued with a secular job as a project manager.  This pattern is to continue as my ministry will be in a self-supporting role, meaning I shall continue to hold my secular job and serve in the parish as well.  I am hoping this will give me the opportunity to be a potential bridge for those who might feel themselves to be outside the church or perhaps have lost touch with the church, as well as to encourage and be encouraged by those with a faith who are happy to share at work and in church. 

I am looking forward to being ordained, to being with the people of the benefice of Pershore, Pinvin, Wick and Birlingham, to finding out how they wish for me to serve and to experiencing what we shall share of the knowledge and love of God.

Ben Somervell (Holy Trinity Church, Old Hill, Dudley)Ben Somervell

I am delighted to be being ordained as Deacon and begin as Assistant Curate at Holy Trinity Church, Old Hill.

I was born and brought up in Ormskirk, West Lancashire where we went to church as a family each week. I’m 25 now but I first began to feel a sense of calling to ordained ministry when I was 14 years old and since then have been on several different parish, Cathedral and Diocesan placements, each of which seemed, in their own unique ways, to confirm that sense of calling.

I studied theology at Durham University for three years, exploring my beliefs more deeply in a secular, academic and critical environment. It was a deeply formational and challenging time but was definitely worthwhile. I then entered the discernment process and was officially sponsored for training for ministry during the pandemic. I really enjoyed the introspective and stretching nature of the process which has enabled me to grow spiritually.

For the last two years, I’ve been studying and training for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, where my research has focused on repentance, forgiveness, conflict transformation, and our often bitter-sweet relationships with the past, both as nations and as individuals. It’s been great to make friends following similar senses of calling and to discuss and grow together with them in our Christian journeys. I’ve also really enjoyed my placements in both deprived and affluent parishes, as well as in the Army and on the Shankill Road in West Belfast.

I’m a newcomer to the Black Country but have been reading up on the area and its distinctive accent and culture. I very much look forward to working with Nick, the vicar at Old Hill, and beginning my formal ministry there.

Esther Treasure (Dudley Team)

Esther TreasureWhat does a fishmonger, a prison chaplain, and a mime artist have in common? Me!!! As one of those people for whom the phrase, ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ has always rung true, I have found myself pursuing many interesting and varied occupations and interests in life, and yet there has always been one constant presence – Jesus, and one constant passion - the church!!

I grew up in the Salvation Army which laid some wonderful foundations; care for the poor, the importance of vocation and the beauty of Church, in fact after university I worked as a Salvation Army Outreach Worker on the streets of Kings Cross (before it became posh!). This was challenging work, but the biggest challenge I found, was that those who I was working amongst never seemed to find their place in the church. At this time I prayed, most fervently, that should God ever give me the opportunity to plant a church, I would commit to making it a place where the outsider would be at the centre. No sooner had I finished praying than the phone rang and I was invited to, yes, you’ve guessed it, plant a church! And with God’s help, it became the most inclusive, upside-down community I have ever had the privilege to be a part of.

Well, twenty years later and after many life changes including relocation, marriage, kids and also several life challenges including fighting and surviving cancer twice, I heard God calling me afresh, to serve the church, though this time specifically within the Church of England and so my journey of discernment began.

Five years on, having completed my training at Queens, a wonderful place of formation and learning, here I am, about to be ordained a deacon and looking forward to serving as a curate at St Thomas and St Lukes, aka Top Church, in Dudley. God is good!

Richard Wood (Worcester Southeast Team)Richard Wood

I come to ordination with a deep sense of God's loving purpose towards people. I grew up in a Christian family, making a firm decision myself to follow Jesus Christ in my early teens. I sang in Cathedral choirs and led worship in a Pentecostal church on a journey of faith which led me to settle with my family at All Saints church in Worcester for many years. I am married to Poov, who has made her own fascinating journey from Hindusim to Christianity. We have three children who are carving out their own paths and are mostly grown up!

Formerly a headteacher and business owner, I have been shaped by diverse experiences of life from archaeology and environmental science to mountain leadership and boat building to singing and guitar, to name a few. Each of these connected me to people and life in new ways and new places (as far as the Middle East, Siberia and the USA). I may well be a "jack of all trades, master of none" and have been widely shaped through the best and worst of life's road. All this contributed to a call to ordination several years ago, honed through training at The Queen's Foundation in Birmingham.

Bringing the good news of God's love to people is a challenge. For one thing, life brings testing moments which do not seem to chime with a God who loves us dearly, and for another, the complexity of the world we live in raises all kinds of questions which can take some sorting out. If I were to characterise the call I feel, it is to meet these questions in people and to help demonstrate the beauty and peace of the call that God has for all people.

For me, the Church of England is the place to help people along their personal spiritual journey feel comfortable to explore and question. The deep heritage of questioning and finding middle ground is in the DNA in the so-called "Via Media" (middle way) of the Anglican Church. Many more people than we know, I think, want to genuinely encounter God and it is the task of the church to help them in this. I'm delighted therefore, to be beginning my ordination journey with the Worcester Southeast Team in this purpose.

Priests

Rachel Colthurst (Severnside Parishes)

Rachel ColthurstThe wise, parting words of advice about becoming a curate from my tutor at theological college were ‘Get amongst people.’ These three words pretty much sum up what I have tried to do over this last year as I’ve joined in with the life, mission, and ministry of the Severnside Parishes – and it has been a total honour to do so. 

Whether it’s been at a church service, school assembly, hospital bedside, toddler group, nursing home or even the garden centre (no two days are the same!), I have had the huge privilege of encountering some incredible people who have allowed me to ‘do life’ with them, entrusting something of themselves and their story to me, and letting me journey with them as they have navigated their highs and lows.  I have loved that, in turn, their stories have become a part of my story – of learning how to love and serve in God’s church - and that ultimately, as we have journeyed together, we have taken our places in God’s overarching story of love, redemption, and salvation. 

There’s no doubt that it’s been a year which has been both challenging and stretching in so many ways (not least getting used to doing my supermarket shop in a dog collar!) and yet it’s also been one in which I have felt affirmed and encouraged in my calling to serve God and share the love of Jesus in this way.  I’m so grateful to everyone who has stood with me and cheered me on!

As I am ordained priest, I hold onto the fact that the gift and joy of ministry is that God calls an ‘ordinary’ girl like me to tell the story of his great love and entrusts his people into my care.  As I begin this next chapter of my story, I do so reliant completely on his grace and strength, as well as knowing - and thankful - that God’s steadfast love never ceases; that his mercies never end and are new every morning; and that he is totally faithful (Lamentations 3:22-23). 

Andy Green (St Egwin’s Church, Evesham)Andy Green

As I reach the day this day of Ordination to the Priesthood, I look back at the life journey that I have undertaken; the many paths trodden, and moments experienced from childhood to adulthood that have shaped me as a person and prepared me to serve God and God’s people.  This formation was taking place long before I realised that I would be Called.  Now that day has arrived, I feel excited and energised, especially having the opportunity to serve the local community who have given me so much support and encouragement in my learning and preparation. There will continue to be a lifetime of learning ahead and I pray that my ministry will continue to flourish and grow.  Since being ordained a Deacon a year ago, my preparation for the priesthood has been intense with much learning, understanding and self-awareness.  This has all happened late in life for me, but I hope that my life experiences will be something that I can draw upon as I continue this priestly journey.

Caroline Green (St Egwin’s Church, Evesham)

Caroline GreenThe past year has been an illuminating one. I have found that by declaring my faith by service, many more opportunities arise to engage with people to help or to walk alongside them.  Previously people were not sure of your motives if you offered support, but now they know I am here to serve and encourage them. After writing sermons which include an occasional personal reference, people will also approach me after the service to share their own experiences.

I have received support and encouragement from fellow ministers and congregation alike which convinces me that I am now on the right pathway. A pathway which I would never have dreamt I would be called to a few years ago. I have enjoyed delving further into the scriptures in order to bring some light to their meaning for myself and those whom I share worship with.

Retaining faith and worship in rural communities is very important to me, and although in an ideal world people would all travel to gather together, in truth they value their village communities and enjoy worship there. For some it can also be difficult to travel far. In our setting we have All Saints Evesham where we can experience a larger gathering and larger social events put on by the Church, but we can also continue with our local rural services like rogation. The two congregations often dip in and out of one another’s services.

I look forward to bringing all I can as a Priest to our churches and serving more fully the village and town communities.

Despite the sometimes busy schedule of home, work and church life, I feel more content with the way my life is moving forward and I know I’m in the right place.

Sarah Jayne Hewitt (St Stephen’s Church, Redditch)Sarah Jayne Hewitt

After 17 years in lay ministry and 8 years as a lay stipendiary pioneer, my first year of ordained ministry hasn't looked much different other than being in a new place with new people! There hasn’t been as much time to be a pioneer as I’d have liked, although I have led a retreat to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which was a new thing for the parishes (in recent history) and established a Forest Church in the local park.

I am looking forward to other things in the pipeline including Wayfarers/Saunterers (a walking church), ministry to the Canal community in Tardebigge, leading ALM Worship Leaders courses and a big project to establish a "communication highway" between three churches. As a priest, the parish ministry of weddings will be new to me and most excitingly, I’ll be able to preside at the Eucharist.

I have really enjoyed creating a prayer station at St. Stephen's. This captures the prayers of our wider town centre community, which are prayed monthly in a Sunday service. Through this service, I'm also hoping to develop a team of new worship leaders. I have also loved being able to minister in more rural parishes in Webheath, Tardebigge and Lower Bentley, leading services while they are without a vicar. It has been great to get to know everyone and build relationships - one highlight was co-leading the Rogation Sunday Service with Archdeacon Nikki in our wellies!

I am looking forward to this next year and engaging with my priestly ministry.

Giles Joiner (Saltway Team, Droitwich)

Giles JoinerI can’t believe how quickly the last year has gone, I have been made to feel so welcome by everyone across the Saltway team and am incredibly thankful for the teaching and support that the vicar I am working with has given to me in a year that has seen a lot of change for the team. It has been a year of firsts from leading a funeral and baptisms to doing open the book school assemblies amongst many things.

It has been a real joy seeing God work in the lives of those we encounter and to have been able to play a small part in helping people discover the love that God has for them.

To meet with people through many different situations in their lives and to be His hands and feet in those moments has been a real honour.

Whilst there have been challenges along the way It has been encouraging to have that continued sense of God’s ‘yes’ and I have been able to learn a lot about myself and about the person that God is moulding me to be as well as what it means to be ordained.

Ahead of my priesting, I am looking forward to the privilege of being able to invite people to God’s table.

Sarah Roberts-Malpass (St Thomas Church, Stourbridge)Sarah Roberts - Malpass

What a year it's been! A year of tremendous change and growth, as I've adjusted to ordained life and all that means.

The welcome I have been given at St Thomas’ Church (and in the diocese) has been so warm and genuine, and I am so thankful for all the practical and prayerful support given. I'm learning lots from so many people and learning lots about so many people. My learning has been practical too, as I've (almost!) conquered the photocopier, honed my 63 point turns in the car park and finally remembered which key goes where!

Over the course of this year, I've celebrated the joy of welcoming baptism candidates and their families, and I walked alongside other families as they prepare to say goodbye to their loved ones. Ministry, I'm learning, is rich and varied and a huge privilege every day.

There have been so many highlights of this first year, ranging from the joy of my first Christmas in ministry, deaconing at a confirmation service at St Thomas’, our relaunch of café church for Mothering Sunday and the New Worshipping Communities that we have begun; and then there are the small groups where conversations flow and glimpses of God are found in those moments, as well as the day to day sharing of what it is to follow Christ with so many around the parish I serve.

I have loved the role of deacon in our parish Eucharist and had been told to expect Easter to be the highlight of my deacon year. That certainly was the case - it was incredible in so many ways!

My ordination to the priesthood has been central in my calling to ordained ministry, and I am so excited to be thinking about what it means to be a priest as I begin this next mode of ministry. I am looking forward to being able to preside at the Eucharist (which I will be doing the morning after priesting in our parish Eucharist), to lead worship and to be able to give God’s blessing to all who have been such a blessing to me this year. And I look forward to seeing what unfolds as I continue to serve my curacy in Stourbridge.

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Adam Wharton (Malvern College)

Adam WhartonI have very much enjoyed my first year as part-time curate at The Priory Church in Malvern and Assistant Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at Malvern College.

This dual role has exposed me to serving Christ in a Parish and School context. I’m grateful to the congregation at The Priory for their encouragement, warmth and patience (!), as well as the support and generosity of The College Leadership Team. It has been fascinating to see how a town church fellowship has worked so cohesively to serve the local community. I look forward to more occasions in which to learn how to serve Christ and His church more effectively as Presbyter.

I am overwhelmed by the tenderness of the Lord Jesus, and particularly the way He has been so patient with me! I am so encouraged by Deuteronomy 33:27: ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.’ The Lord stays so close to his children, guaranteeing their eternal safety! To Him be the glory!

Paul Wilcox (West Worcester Beacon Group)Paul Wilcox

My year as a Deacon has been personally transformational. In my mid-sixties, I have discovered that the adventure of faith never ends. Having been an intentional follower of Jesus for nearly 30 years, it has been a bit of a shock to find myself in the leadership creche, and I love it! I have also been very blessed to work alongside a vicar who ‘gets’ me and whose sole intention is to involve me in areas of parish ministry that help and enable me to serve and flourish well. As my ‘priesting’ on 1 July approaches, all I can think of to say is, ‘BRING IT ON’! I am reminded of a quote from The Hobbit, which just about sums it up when Bilbo Baggins says, ‘"Go back?" he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”

James Williams (Malvern Link with Cowleigh)

James WilliamsReconnecting with Church Ministry has brought me great joy, and as you might imagine with all worthwhile journeys there have been challenges and moments for growth on the way.  Yet, my overwhelming sense during the past year is to have been saturated in kindness and grace as I’ve been given the freedom and trust to grow toward God’s calling.

In our mixed ecology of parish worship, I have had lots of occasions to stretch my understanding, while also having the privilege to serve a tradition that has played such a key part of my Anglican formation.  I’ve been particularly energised by the many opportunities we have had to engage with our church schools and to work alongside our congregations to develop patterns of worship that welcome them into our community.  I am so looking forward to the new school year and the launch of some new activities which we hope will deepen these relationships.

As I look toward the priesthood, I am perhaps most grateful to the people of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, who have given me the space and opportunity to work out what it might mean to be a priest in their midst.  I have been humbled by their encouragement to lean into my gifts and blessed by their willingness to give things a go.  I look forward to continuing to delight in their beauty, rejoice in their well-being, and to play my part in faithfully ministering to them in word and sacrament. 

Page last updated: Sunday 2nd July 2023 7:45 PM

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