"If God is in control of your life then nothing is impossible."
Jan Hutchinson: ordained priest, 29 June 2019
Hi, my name is Jan Hutchinson; the Reverend Jan Hutchinson.
Gosh! That’s taking some getting used to, especially so in that it involved a long journey of discovery.
My Brother and I were streetwise kids, left to our own devices, we learned to survive in any way we could. Along with my mother we often found ourselves sleeping on the streets.
I didn’t attend school until I was 11 and left school at the age of fourteen, barely able to read.
Shortly after leaving school I also left home.
Finding low paid work, I mostly sheltered in empty houses.
At 17, I joined the Army where, during tests, it was discovered that I was dyslexic.
Despite this, I scored well on the intelligence scale. The Army placed me into special education and brought me to a good reading standard.
I went on to train as a radar operator and spent most of my time in the Outer Hebrides with the responsibility for air traffic control.
I have to say that the Army was my first experience of a stable home; it was my family.
On leaving the Army I married my Husband Peter, we had our 48th wedding anniversary in June 2018. We have one son, also called Peter, and four Grandchildren.
I suppose I could say my journey to faith was an “on the road to Damascus experience.”
I was in my mid- thirties when one morning I went to buy a Sunday paper and found myself walking past the shop and into the nearby church.
Despite never having attended a church, I can only describe that experience of being one of an instant understanding and an acceptance of God in my life.
I continued to attend church, was baptised and confirmed.
Growing in faith over the years (which included a good deal of growing pains) I went forward by being licensed as a Reader in 1999. I was licensed in York Minster by Archbishop John Sentamu, who gave me a personal message which I have carried over the years and continue to do so.
That message played a massive part in my journey to ordination.
Directed by God and prompted by others, and with the support of my family, I set out on what appeared to be another impossible journey.
I think we can all agree, though, that if God is in control of your life then nothing is impossible.
Needless to say, the impossible did indeed become possible and my journey continues.
That journey is incredibly important to me, simply because people are incredibly important to me, especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and those who feel they have little worth.
God gave me worth, my mission is to do likewise - to give of myself and to share my life experiences to inspire others to not only find worth in themselves, but to find the loving God in their lives.
Therefore, in trepidation, in the vulnerability of who I am, I hope to serve those in my benefice, in my community and those I meet in the circumstances of everyday life.
Jan is now serving as Assistant Curate at St Wilfrid West Hallam, Holy Trinity Mapperley and St Andrew Stanley.
Jill Hancock: ordained priest, 29 June 2019
Jill is now the Assistant Curate with the East Scarsdale Team Ministry. She writes:
From an early age I knew how important it was to share and care for others.
Hospitality was at the heart of our family and there would always be an extra place at our dinner table for visitors.
Growing up, I never really had a desire to ‘be something’ and took up all sorts of jobs. I tried hair dressing, travel consultancy, care work, ambulance driving, I joined the Special Constabulary and eventually settled in a job as a nursing auxiliary.
My work as a nurse opened my eyes to life, life at its beginning, life in its fullness, in its messiness and life at its end.
It was during this time that I had the sense that I didn’t actually have to ‘become something’ all I needed was to be myself and to be myself was to simply offer hospitality. I felt a nudge from God.
In 2007, I trained as a Church Army Evangelist and I spent nine years ministering to the vulnerable and marginalised in deprived and fractured communities.
And that’s what I think the role of a deacon is, to share in the life of the community, to offer those in need God’s hospitality; to share in the celebrations, struggles and mess.
I recently finished my theological training at The College of The Resurrection in Mirfield near Wakefield.
The college is situated in 24 acres of beautiful gardens, orchards and woodland within the grounds of a monastery. It’s home to a community of monks who root their lives in the Benedictine tradition.
This monastic rhythm of life teaches the importance of a balance between prayer, study, work, rest, and hospitality - principles which I think are the key in ministry.
I feel very privileged as a curate to have the freedom to get to know the area and to listen to people’s stories.
During September - the start of the new school year - I’ll be getting to know the students and staff at the local schools and joining the chaplaincy team - and I've been very much looking forward to this.
I should also mention…… I am married to Dave and have two grown-up daughters and we live in Bolsover with our little dog Bugsy!
Among my leisure activities are fishing, wine making and crafting.
See also: Explore your calling with us
Favourite Bible passage:
My favourite Bible passage is Roman’s 8:28.
‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’
This passage has got me through some tough times, times when my faith was in my boots and I struggled to understand what good could possibly come out of such pain.
My favourite prayer has to be The Lords Prayer. It is filled with incredible meaning and summarises our faith.
You don’t have to think about it, you can say it in every situation, most people can share in it and it does what it says on the tin. Its a prayer of praise, petition, penitence and grace.
My favourite hymn is "I will offer up my life", by Matt Redman.
When I was a little girl, I always knew I was loved by Jesus because I met him one evening in my mum's 'best room'; he was sat on the settee. He didn't say anything to me but I just knew I belonged to him.
I guess I've always had a sense of being 'called' but was never quite sure what that would look like, so I just followed.
I will offer up my life in spirit and truth
Pouring out the oil of love, as my worship to you
In surrender I must give my every part
Lord, receive this sacrifice of a broken heart
Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a Friend, to so loving a King?
Saviour, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name for the things You have done?
Oh, my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart
You deserve my every breath, for You've paid the great cost
Giving up your life to death, even death on the cross
You took all my shame away, there defeated my sin
Open up the gates of heaven and have beckoned me in
Bruce Johnson: ordained priest, 29 June 2019
Bruce Johnson, a former IT project consultant, joined the Diocese of Derby as an assistant curate following his Petertide ordination on 1 July 2018. He is currently serving the parishes of Heanor, Langley Mill, Aldercar and Marlpool.
He trained part time for ordination, firstly with Lancashire and Cumbria Theological Partnership and then with All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry, whilst undertaking roles in the Netherlands and the UK.
Bruce said: "Working and studying part time is not an easy option but, like many, we are proof that it can be done!"
He would be the first to admit that his journey to ordination wasn't entirely easy, but was definitely rewarding: "It has led me to many interesting places and through a great deal of varied and different experiences that I certainly wouldn’t have expected to ever go through.
"Reflecting upon these, both at the time and in retrospect, I can clearly see God’s hand guiding me throughout and, as a result, my vocation has developed.
"As I continue on my vocational journey I am very much looking forward to this next challenging but very exciting new phase of ministry and life.
"I am enjoying meeting my new communities and having the opportunity to share God’s love and sacraments with everyone I meet."
Hearing God's call
Like many, Bruce can't put his finger on 'the moment' he felt the call to ordination, but rembers clearly two significant incidents that left him in no doubt it was the right way to go: "The first was my first week at university when, aged around 18, I began to see with increasing clarity that the gifts God had given me were able to help others around me grow in faith and knowledge.
"The second was perhaps the most poignant; whilst working in Romania I had the opportunity to be involved in helping various communities grow both through physical action and also the support of the sacraments.
"For me the centrality of the sacraments, whether it be the Mass/Holy Communion/Eucharist/Lords Supper/ Breaking of the Bread or the other sacred sacraments, is principle to my calling and therefore very important to my spiritual life.
"Being able to partake in these, leading and walking with others is a central element in my life.
"Time and time again it has been confirmed to me that I am following God’s pathway and I am really looking forward to getting to know more about Derbyshire, the diversity of the districts and the people who make this county their own.
"I am sure I will soon get to know more of this vibrant county, the fabulous Christians who are active in their communities and the wonderful explorations and expressions of faith which I know are being constantly blessed here."
So would he recommend others to follow their calling? Of that he has no doubt: "God calls each of us to be ourselves firstly but to also allow those in the vocational exploration process to help and support us in determining what that call may be.
"It may take some time but if you feel called, trust in God and, with the help of the vocations team, allow yourself to explore what he is calling you to be."
Bruce is married to Sarah and has three grown-up children and one grandchild; some of whom live locally.
Bruce said: "Prior to moving house in June, we lived near Lancaster in a very rural setting. We now live in Ripley; a very different community setting - but everyone has made us feel extremely welcome."
See also: Explore your calling with us
‘Will your anchor hold?’ and ‘Longing for light, Christ be our light’, both having very specific lyrics which mean a lot for Bruce in his ministry today
Favourite Bible passage:
Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11 - ‘For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope’
Favourite prayers include:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life. Amen
St. Francis of Assisi
Stella Greenwood: ordained priest, 2018
Rolls Royce Engineering Operations Controller, Stella Greenwood was ordained Deacon at in 2017.
Stella, from Church Gresley, Swadlincote became Assistant Curate to the parishes of Emmanuel Swadlincote and St Peter’s Hartshorne.
Married to Paul with two children, Stella also works with South Derbyshire Scouts as a Local Training Manager and has been licensed as a Reader since 2006.
As a self-supporting minister, Stella continues in her other roles whilst taking on a new identity as a deacon following studying for ministry at All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry.
Stella said: “On completion of my Reader training I believed that my calling was to Reader ministry and in many ways, it was. But God had further plans for me and over time and with much prayer and discussion it became clear to me that God was calling me to ordained ministry. Through my training, my understanding of my future ministry has grown clearer as I have learnt a lot about myself and about the way that God wants to use me. This step into ordained ministry is a challenging one but I know that it is me that God is calling to this ministry and he will support me as I move into this new phase of my journey with him.”
She added: “My hope is that I can make my own contribution to the life of these parishes and be an instrument of God's love to these people and these communities. This will be an exciting challenge but one which with God's help I believe I can meet. The biggest thing I have learnt is that God calls and uses all sorts of people. If he is calling you then he wants you as you are.”
Edward Backhouse: ordained priest, 2018
Edward Backhouse joined the Diocese of Derby as Assistant Curate following his ordination in 2017. He serves the communities of Aston on Trent, Weston on Trent, Elvaston, Shardlow, Swarkestone, Barrow upon Trent and Twyford.
Edward was encouraged to explore the possibility of ministry by a local minister after he felt the call at the age of 16. Hew was ordained Deacon when he was 26, having spent five years studying theology both at St John’s Theological College, Nottingham and Cranmer Hall, Durham.
Talking about his new role Edward said:
“I hope that I will see many blessings in my life when I start my new role as a deacon. I hope to see the churches flourish and equip the laity to do God's work in our local area.
"I'm most looking forward to actually doing on-the-ground ministry, after the last five years have been spent in theological college forming myself for that role.
"To anyone considering the step into ministry, I would encourage you to step out and explore the possibility of vocation in the church."
Sarah Watson: ordained priest, 2018
Sarah Watson joined the Diocese of Derby as Assistant Curate in the Walbrook Epiphany Team Ministry.
Derby County fan Sarah originally trained as a secondary school teacher, becoming Head of Faculty and Lead for Christian Distinctiveness at Bluecoat Academy in Nottingham.
During this time, she began to experience a call to ordination.
“Through working for the Church of England in education & becoming increasingly involved in school chaplaincy, pastoral care and leading worship, I began to feel a call into ordained ministry. I prayed this through, tested it with others and had the calling affirmed by the church,” said Sarah.
After leaving teaching in 2015, Sarah trained at the newly formed Barnabus Training Centre of St Hild College.
This involved a mix of weekly lectures in Sheffield, home study and a placement at St Paul’s Church in Chester Green.
She also took part in week long residential study period in Durham, providing a chance to return to where she studied for her undergraduate degree in Theology.
Sarah said: “This way of training is increasingly popular, especially for those with a family and partners in employment.
"I trained alongside Baptists and independent church leaders as well people from different traditions within the Church of England, which was enriching.
"Going away to college has its benefits but contextual training has been a great preparation for life in ordained ministry.
"I loved the college, the course and the people I met, I couldn’t recommend it more highly.”
Talking about what she hoped to achieve in her new role in the Walbrook Epiphany Team Ministry, Sarah said: “It may sound simple but I want to serve the people I am called to work with, understand the context well, seeking where God is at work and joining in.
"As a natural activist, it is easy to jump in - but I want to go there, listen and follow God’s lead. I also have a lot to learn along the way in parish ministry and would also like to explore aspects of chaplaincy.
"It will be an adjustment for myself and my family, and I am sure that through it I will be changed as God continues to work in and through me”
She added: “To anyone else considering taking this step I would say - Pray, pay attention to the ‘still small voice,’ talk with people you trust and have a chat with your incumbent. Don’t compare yourself to others, the key question is, is God calling you?
"I have really enjoyed the journey and don’t be afraid to step out from what you are doing”
Sarah lives in Derby and is married with a son.
Kate Buckley: ordained priest, 2018
Kate Buckley joined the Diocese of Derby as Assistant Curate in the communities of South Derbyshire (The parishes of Walton on Trent with Croxall and Rosliston in the benefice of Walton on Trent with Croxall, Rosliston with Linton and Castle Gresley, of the benefice of Stapenhill Immanuel and of the parish of Coton in the Elms in the benefice of Seale and Lullington with Coton in the Elms, and of the parishes of Swadlincote and Hartshorne).
Now retired, Kate originally trained in hotels before moving into administration and secretarial work in a number of different industries – from concrete pipe manufacturers to chartered quantity surveyors. She lives in Burton on Trent with her dogs and has two sons and eight grandchildren.
Talking about her journey to ordination Kate said: “I had originally expected a quiet retirement but God clearly has other plans and I have felt Him beside me every step of the way”
“If anyone were to ask, I would suggest that if they feel called to serve God as a priest then they should certainly try.
"The consultation process, the examination of vocation and the support I have received during my own journey, has been amazing and rewarding in ways I could never have imagined.
"It really has been a wonderful adventure.”
Frank Startin: ordained priest, 2018
Frank Startin, a Chartered Accountant from Burton, joined the Diocese of Derby as Assistant Curate in the parishes of St Mark’s, Winshill, and St Wystan’s, Bretby.
Frank initially trained as a barrister before switching to chartered accountancy and joining a local accountancy firm in Burton. He went on to set up his own firm, The Chartwell Practice, allowing him to spend more time working for his local church in a variety of roles including drumming in the worship band.
He has also spent time as a School Governor and as a parish and East Staffordshire Borough Councillor.
Frank trained for ordination at the Queens Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, studying part-time whilst continuing in his role as a senior partner at The Chartwell practice.
Talking about his journey to ordination, Frank said: “Sometimes, we have to acknowledge that we are not in charge and simply step out in faith, trusting in God’s grace and faithfulness.
"God always delivers… abundantly in love… in my experience, but not always at the time and in the way in which we expect. But that is the joy and excitement in life which has kept and still keeps me going in low times, even when I have felt far off from God."
“I am excited (though with a little trepidation) to assume my new role and to step into a different path in my life, building on the experience I have, both at work and in the local community, in drawing alongside people, getting to grips with issues they are facing and doing my best to help them out.
"For me, this is all about living out and sharing the Gospel."
"I am also looking forward to going back to my family’s roots since I was baptised in St Mark’s and went to secondary school in Winshill.
"My grandparents used to take me along to sing in the choir at St Wystan’s, Bretby, from where I was confirmed at 13 in 1973.
"My parents were married at Bretby church and some of my ancestors are buried in the church yard there too!”
Born and bred in Burton, Frank is married to Christine with a son, Oliver, who is completing a Master’s degree in Theology at Oxford University.
Company Director to Follow his Calling into the Church of England
The commercial director of a growing manufacturing company is to be ordained Deacon at a special service at Derby Cathedral on 26 June.
David Walker, 46, from Mosborough, Sheffield, will become Assistant Curate to the parishes of Dronfield and Holmesfield Team Ministry and is looking forward to the challenge of nurturing new believers from the business community.
Married to Andrea with three grown up sons, David is Commercial Director at Detectronic Ltd, a manufacturing company that produces equipment to reduce flooding and prevent pollution, but studied Theology at university and is now pursuing his long held religious calling to be ordained as a deacon.
As a self-supporting minister, David will continue in his company role whilst taking on a new identity as a deacon serving in the Derby diocese following three years studying a BA in Theology at the Yorkshire Ministry Course.
David said: “My calling spans many years but taking this next step has not been easy for me as I continually questioned the calling along with many others questioning it for me. After numerous times of running away, I kept finding myself back investigating the calling further.
“I finally gave in questioning and said “OK GOD you got me”, after which I have had an overwhelming feeling of liberation.
“I would hope and will pray that I am able to bring a person to know Jesus Christ, nurture new believers and transform unjust structures, which is going to be an interesting and somewhat challenging exercise in the aggressive world of Business and Commerce.
“I am most looking forward to proclaiming the Good News and to preach the word of God with an identity of Deacon in the Church of England. For anyone else wishing to take this step, I would say: Be brave, and God will do the rest!”
Along with the other candidates, David will be presented to the Bishop of Derby, The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern at a public service at Derby Cathedral at 10.45am, Sunday 26 June 2016.
Award Winning Performance Poet to Become a Deacon
An award-winning performance poet is one of the six people to be ordained a Deacon
at a special Petertide service at Derby Cathedral on Sunday 26 June 2016.
Ben Allison, 29, will become the Pioneer Curate, North Wingfield Team Ministry. Originally from Leeds, he will be the third generation in his family to be ordained. His father and grandfather are both still serving in the Leeds Diocese.
Married to Clare for nine years, Ben has a young family of three children; Amos (5), Alethea (3) and Edna (7 months). Currently training at Cranmer Hall, Durham, he will be moving to Derbyshire ahead of his ordination.
A very successful performance poet, Ben has won the Hebden Bridge Festal Slam, Greenbelt Festival Slam and Ted Hughes Festival Slam. He also has autism and dyspraxia and has reflected on his experiences for a church resource book on Disability.
Ben said: “Becoming a deacon means a change a in identity, laying aside my lay identity in order to serve the communities to which I am called in a new and exciting way. I hope to find new ways of doing church which don't just seek to draw those on the edge of my community into existing services and congregations, but rather build church around them.
“I’m most looking forward to finally be able to do what I love full-time: serving my community, and proclaiming the Gospel. It’ll also mean I'll no longer be a northerner! I have to learn how to minister in the strange, alien culture of North Derbyshire.
“To others considering taking the same step, I say do not be afraid of your weaknesses. Do not be afraid of being vulnerable. The God who has called you will not abandon you.”
Former music teacher to swap the classroom for church and become a Deacon at Derbyshire Cathedral
A former Derby music teacher is to be ordained as a Deacon at a special Petertide service at Derby Cathedral on Sunday 26 June 2016.
Lindsay Pearson, 34, will become Assistant Curate for Wirksworth Team Ministry after three years at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield.
Before making a move into the church, Lindsay worked as a music teacher at a secondary school, and for an ecumenical partnership in Derby.
Lindsay said: “I cannot really explain how I was drawn into this direction, but I was - and here I am, on the brink of ordination.
“I am looking forward to taking part in the liturgical life of the parishes I serve, and becoming involved in the community.
“I don’t know Wirksworth yet but it is very beautiful - I’m enjoying familiarising myself with the area.”
Former Chesterfield Pastor to Return to Derbyshire to be Ordained as a Deacon
A former Chesterfield Street Pastor is due to return to his home county to be ordained as a Deacon at a special Petertide service at Derby Cathedral on Sunday 26 June 2016.
James Durrant, 26, will become the Assistant Curate to the parish of St Alkmund and St Werburgh in Derby. Originally from Chesterfield, he volunteered as a street pastor for two years in his hometown after studying Environmental Economics and Environmental Management at University of York.
Married to Chloe since 2015, James is currently training at Cranmer College in Durham and is looking forward to returning to Derbyshire to take up his ministry.
James said: “It will be great to return to Derbyshire after three years away to an area which I 'm looking forward to getting to know.
“I am delighted to be in a position to serve a community and to walk alongside them in their discipleship journey, from those who have been walking for many years to those who do not yet know they have a journey before them.
“To others considering taking this step, I say God does not call the equipped but equips the called. If God is calling you the skills, support and gifts you need will be provided. You are being called for who you are, not in comparison to anyone else”.
Solicitor Embarks on Second Career with Church of England
A high flying solicitor is swapping his 35 year legal career for one in the pulpit as he is ordained Deacon at a special service at St Laurence, Long Eaton on 3 July 2016.
Giles Orton, 56, from Kirk Langley, will become Assistant Curate to the parishes of Long Eaton St Laurence and Ilkeston Holy Trinity. Married to Jane, an Amber Valley Borough Councillor, and with three grown up sons, Orton was a pensions litigation partner in the national firm Eversheds until April this year when he retired from the partnership to become a part-time legal consultant and trustee and to prepare for ordination as a self-supporting minister.
Giles said: “My new role will be an exciting journey and an awesome responsibility. I am looking forward to being involved in the life of the parishes and to help the people in my community come to know and serve God better through word and sacrament.“
Giles, whose work included acting for the Maxwell pensioners and working with the government to establish the Pensions Protection Fund, continued:
“In my legal career, I did much to help pensioners in their retirement from work. In the next stage of my career I hope to be able to help people prepare for the next retirement and to meet their Maker in the next life that Christ promises.
“My motivation to take this step came from being called to follow in the footsteps of my late grandfather, who was also a priest.
I was born in Retford in Nottinghamshire, but moved to Kettering in Northamptonshire aged 5. I worked for may years in the newspaper industry in Northamptonshire and then in Suffolk, before moving to Nottinghamshire 10 years ago. Since then I have completed a degree, masters degree and trained to become a secondary school teacher and I now work at Queen Elizabeth's Academy in Mansfield where I teach Health and Social Care, Child Development, Sociology and RE. I will be continuing to work full time following ordination.
I will be serving at St Mary and St Laurence in Bolsover. 'I am looking forward to my new role as curate and working with Rev Rachel Gouldthorpe and immersing myself into the life and work of the church.
In my spare time I enjoy long walks with my black labrador, Basil.
I’m Carla Vicencio Prior. I’m 44, I’m married to Nick and we have two children. I’m Portuguese, but moved to the UK in 1985 and have lived here (on and off) ever since. Before training for ministry, most of my working life was spent in a business context, mostly marketing and market research and running my own small business.
New curate at Derwent Oak, and the Trent and Derwent Parishes
On July 5th I’ll be ordained at Ashbourne Parish Church, and I’m privileged to be training partly at Derwent Oak, alongside Beth Honey, a community chaplain, and partly with the Trent and Derwent Parishes - as a local friend said to me on my breaking the news: ‘That’s all the really pretty Derby villages then - good work!’