Catrin Hubbard: to be ordained deacon in September 2020
I have the sense of my future ministry involving shepherding God’s rainbow sheep
My name is Catrin Hubbard and I’ve been licensed as a Lay Worker (pending ordination, God, the Bishop and Covid willing) to the Parish of Buxton with Burbage and King Sterndale.
I grew up in Liverpool and Ynys Môn, I’m baptised Church in Wales and confirmed Church of England, it’s an interesting mix of world views to have grown up with.
I went to Sunday school and confirmation classes as I grew up, both of which nurtured and deepened my faith but after confirmation I found grown up church boring so drifted away over the years.
I came back to faith in my early twenties after finishing university.
My degree was in Counselling and Therapeutic Studies so of course I ended up as a youth worker, both for the local authority and for my local church.
Not long after I came to faith, people started talking to me about ordination (specifically my mentor, a beautiful man called Geoff, and my great aunt).
I found the idea of God calling someone like me to such a position laughable and told them so.
After a few years as a youth worker, I felt that my theological learning was lacking so I joined the Light Project in Chester studying part time for a Foundation Degree in Community Evangelism and working part time as a Youth and Children’s Worker for a lovely local parish.
I stayed on at the church part time after completing my studies and worked as a schools worker part time too.
More recently I spent six years in Sutton, Surrey, working as a secondary schools worker for a small Christian charity, leading assemblies, lessons, lunch clubs and the like.
Over the years my mentor had kept up his pestering about ordination and other people joined in too.
I finally gave in, asking God if ordination was the plan for me, I cried through fear and relief (as if I’d been carrying a weight that I could now put down) when the answer came back “Yes”.
I trained at Cranmer Hall in Durham and loved it there. The people are amazing, so humble, honest and funny, accepting and supporting me through the bumpy road of learning to accept myself as God created me to be, often rupturing what I thought I knew, as well as learning about things I didn’t know had names let alone what those names where (who knew the swinging incense thingy was called a thurible!)
I have the sense of my future ministry involving shepherding God’s rainbow sheep, people on the margins and people who have previously been hurt by the church, showing them God’s love, inclusion and belonging. I have no idea what that will look like but I know God does, so that’s ok for now.
Favourite Bible passages: Psalm 73:23 and Micah 6:8 “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (NRSV)
Favourite hymn: “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer” (I am Welsh!) and my favourite worship song is “Reckless Love” which talks about the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.
Nicola McNally: to be ordained deacon in 2020
My vision of ordained ministry is very people orientated
I am Nicola McNally. Donal and I have been married for 27 years, and we are blessed with two children (now 19 and 23 years old).
For the past 30 years I have been a University Lecturer / Associate Professor in Engineering Materials.
I have been working half-time since the birth of our son, so this enabled me in the last three years to study part-time at Ripon College Cuddesdon alongside my job at the university of Nottingham.
Now I look forward to a new chapter of life as full-time Curate in Tideswell Parish.
Throughout my life, and various ups and downs, I have a strong sense that God always provides, although not of course always in the way one imagined he would!
I was fortunate to have been brought to faith as a child by my Christian mother, so I can’t actually remember ever not believing in God. However, one’s faith deepens and grows.
Leading an ecumenical group ‘CEPlus’ as an undergraduate at Bath University expanded my understanding of Christian community and taught me about articulating my faith.
Introduction to the Taizé community in France, including a week in silence whilst doing my PhD at Oxford, gave me a love of meditative prayer.
My husband and children have taught me a lot about the power of love.
I have always worshipped at the Church of England church parish in the community in which I live, and being a member of Parochial Church Councils in Dorset, Oxford, Bristol and Nottinghamshire has taught me a lot about the ups and down of church life!
However, I didn’t seriously recognise a call to ministry until about five years ago when acting as the lay lead in PMC (Partnership for Missional Change) in my home parish.
I realised that my day job, important to me though it was, was beginning to feel like something that got in the way of what I really wanted to do.
My vision of ordained ministry is very people orientated.
I feel my major task is to let everyone know that they are loved and valued by a wonderful triune God.
A relationship with Jesus should be a growing dynamic thing for every believer and I hope to be a small channel through which the Holy Spirit can help people come to faith and grow in that faith.
Although I have not been in Derbyshire very long, I already feel a great love for the people and countryside.
I look forward to getting to know the people and churches of my parish and discerning what my vision for the future there should be.
This Covid year has certainly thrown us all challenges but, as Julian of Norwich so aptly puts it, God did not say “You will not be tempest-tossed”, but “You will never be overcome.”
I love being outdoors. Cycling is one hobby - my husband and I have a special tandem which is a recumbent at the front and sit up at the back. That way we can both see where we are going, and chat to one another easily!
My other main hobby (if I get time) is sailing. I hope to join the club at Carsington.
I also enjoy walking and one of the blessings of my new parish is walking between the five churches through the countryside.
Inside, I have recently rediscovered a love of sewing whilst making face masks for the family and friends.
I have played the violin all my life and there is nothing quite like the single-minded concentration of playing a piece of music, particularly in an orchestra for pushing cares or worries out of mind.
Favourite Bible passage: Psalm 139 9,10 - If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me.
Favourite hymn: The Servant Song" is one of my favourite hymns and pretty much sums up how I feel about my calling, and has also meant a lot to me when I have been caring for relatives suffering from the cruel disease of dementia.
Sandra Till: to be ordained deacon in 2020
I have never seen him since, but my life changed from that moment.
Being an ordained minister was not part of my bucket list but when looking back at my life, a very emotional part of my discernment, I remembered telling the career advisor that I wanted to be a vicar.
I still have no idea why, seeing as the first ordination of women was a long time after I left school.
I “chose” nursing as my career and started work as a cadet nurse at the Derby County Asylum (Kingsway Hospital).
I knew I wanted to care for those who did not seem to be attractive to others in my group at pre-nursing school.
That desire has never left me and, I believe, ministering to those on the fringes of society is a big part of my calling.
I went on to specialise in caring for those with dementia needing enhanced care.
I never hid my faith and always felt that I had been sent to that role and that God was with me.
I discovered how much God was with me, when during one very heavy shift a staff nurse said to me: "It’s alright for you, you believe in God, I don’t."
My reply was: "It’s a good job that he believes in you." Those word were spoken through me, not by me.
When I became a Cub leader and attended church parades, I not only met other Christians who helped me develop a deeper understanding, I also met my husband Anthony.
We have been married for 34 years now, have three children and been blessed with seven grandchildren.
Anthony is also an ordained minister. I get very frustrated when people ask if that’s why I am going to be one; I try to explain that I have spent time trying to avoid God’s calling, despite many signs.
I finally knew, just like Jonah, I could hide no longer when, working as a hospital chaplain visitor, a gentleman came into the chapel and we sat and prayed together.
From nowhere he said: "Some see it as fear and anxiety, and some see it as exciting."
I had never seen him before and have never seen him since, but my life changed from that moment.
Favourite Bible passage: Psalm 46:10. "Be still, and know that I am God." When I’m chasing round and getting nowhere its nice just to breathe and say: "Be still and remember that God is with me."
Favourite hymn: Here I am Lord. My grandson used to come to church with me and completely surprised the family when he said he wanted to be baptised. He was only five and he chose this hymn for the service. That made it very special, and as I questioned my calling, “Is it I, Lord?” has been asked so many times.
Sharon Murphy: to be ordained deacon in 2020
I have never lost the passion to communicate the gospel in language that is easily understood
My name is Sharon Murphy, I am married to John and we have eight children, two aged 15 and 13 who are still at home.
We also have a daft cocker spaniel called Jasper and a cat nicknamed The Scruffy Misery.
We recently moved to Chaddesden, Derby to take up a curacy with Derwent Oak BMO.
I became a Christian in my early 20s having suffered a miscarriage.
It was my first encounter with grief, and it was such a time of pain both physically and emotionally.
I went to bed one night and God appeared to me in a dream with my baby in his arms and when I woke up the next morning all the pain had gone, and I felt peaceful.
I then started to go to church, having already met the minister and his wife through a toddler group.
Over the next few years my husband, several of our children and a close friend became Christians.
It was during the next eight years that a call to mission really grew within us and in 2000 we moved to Manchester to become part of a group of urban missionaries (EDEN); I became the team leader for EDEN Hattersley.
My time with EDEN showed me the importance of the church working at ground level with the community; a way of engaging with people while living out kingdom values and ‘gossiping the gospel’ to everyone.
In 2007, we moved to Poole in Dorset and joined Reconnect, a missional community It was at this point that I started to feel that God might be calling me into ordained ministry and I started to explore what that would look like.
I trained at St.Hilds College on a two-year full time pathway.
Formation came in many guises and I learnt a lot from the breath of church tradition that I encountered.
One highlight of my training was Easter school in Durham during Holy Week 2018.
The sunrise service, which started in darkness and ended in loud celebration and worship, spoke to me profoundly about the words ‘He is risen!’.
I have never lost the passion to communicate the gospel in language that is easily understood, my MA dissertation reflects this.
I wrote a myth to try to help people with little or no understanding about the story of God try to explore what is happening during the Eucharist.
When I am out walking in the countryside especially in the Peak District I find myself feeling very close to God and this is where he will often speak to me. I also enjoy cooking, reading, listening to classical music, drinking good coffee and chocolate. I am a bit of a contemplative and words are very important to me, the words simplicity, hospitality and pilgrim have played a significant meaning for me. My rule of life is based on Micah 6:8 And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
As I start my curacy with Rev.Beth Honey in Derwent Oak BMO, Derby I find myself thinking about dwelling in a place, being, prayer walking, listening and building relationship.
My prayer is that people will see something of Christ in me the hope of glory and will want that hope for themselves.
Favourite Bible passage: from Isaiah 61, as paraphrased in The Message Bible. It speaks of healing, hope, joy and peace through Christ who brings restoration and new life.
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
Some of this verse is part of the design for my ordination stole.
Favourite hymn: Be Still My Soul. I particularly like the version sung by Kari Jobe.
Rachael Brooks: to be ordained deacon in 2020
Do I need to wear a collar in order to be the bridge God is calling me to be?
My name is Rachael Brooks and I live in Derby with my husband, Andrew, and our son, Isaac.
I encountered God and gave my life to him at the age of 14.
Soon after, I experienced a sense of calling, although I didn’t recognise it as such until much later.
I met my husband, Andrew, at Nottingham University.
We both got jobs in Derby, me as a teacher at a junior school in Chaddesden and Andrew as a doctor on the Derby hospitals’ GP training scheme, so moved here when we married, in 1991.
We quickly found ourselves at the church which has been our home ever since - St Alkmund’s, Derby.
This is the place where my faith has deepened and matured, where I’ve found and given prayerful companionship through the ups and downs of life.
It has provided many roles in which I could serve and develop the gifts God had given me.
A few people over the years suggested I consider ordination but I always dismissed the idea that God was calling me to that.
I didn’t see myself leading a church.
In 2013, I was strongly advised by someone I looked up to to ‘have a go’ at Chaplaincy and, if I liked it, to explore ordination.
I started a voluntary role with Derby City Centre Chaplaincy in 2014, serving at a vocational training college for a few years and then at the council building.
This chaplaincy role seemed to fulfil what prayer had begun to reveal was my calling: to be a bridge - between God and the community.
A friend had a picture of me as a sparrow around this time.
The particular quality she felt God was drawing attention to was that sparrows alight gently, unobtrusively.
She was a bit apologetic, sparrows aren’t the most beautiful or rare of birds.
But I began to see that this also fitted with being a bridge: finding the people he wants to me to alight gently beside and to show his love.
The issue for me in considering ordination was ‘do I need to wear a collar in order to be the bridge God is calling me to be?’.
As I prayed and reflected I remembered those moments during chaplaincy in which I found myself thinking how I’d love to be the one to baptise the people I was walking alongside. Diocesan and national selection panels eventually ensued and I began training in 2017.
During my training at St Hild Theological College, God has stretched and challenged me further.
He’s done this through the rich community life among the students and staff and through precious times of worship: at the Sheffield site, at Mirfield and at Durham cathedral.
And through my church placement.
My calling was confirmed beyond question for me at the funeral of Rev’d Ian Mountford, in January, when in her address, Bishop Jan told us something I didn’t know - that the word ‘priest’ means ‘bridge’.
I’m so pleased to be undertaking the curacy phase of my formation adventure at St Peter’s, Littleover - the parish we happen to have lived in for most of the 29 years we’ve been in Derby - and St Andrew’s, Blagreaves.
Starting during lockdown is rather disconcerting, but it’s an opportunity to learn new skills and work creatively with God and the Church to bring the peace, love and freedom of God into a unique situation.
Alan Winfield: to be ordained deacon in 2020
I was licensed (as a reader) in 2002 - but still had feelings that there was something more
Hi, I’m Alan Winfield, I am 62 years old and I was born in Derby and lived in what was a small village on its outskirts.
At the age of 16, I met God for the first time during an Easter Sunrise Service in the village and, as the sun rose above the mill rooftops, I had this strange and wonderful feeling inside and it was there and then that I knew.
Church took a bit of a back seat after that and it wasn’t until I met and married Sue that we started attending the local church; incidentally we will be celebrating our Ruby Wedding anniversary at the end of August – how has she put up with me for so long?
Our two sons, David and Ian, came along and our family was complete.
We moved to Devon with my job as a Funeral Director and spent four years living in Torbay before returning to Derby.
Shortly after our return my father in law passed away suddenly; the Sunday after the funeral we attended the local church and during the sermon a sentence struck me like an arrow and from there on I knew God had plans for me but just what, I didn’t know.
I joined the serving team and went on the rota of readers and intercessors butI felt though that there was something more.
If at first...
I enquired about becoming a licensed reader and our priest commented on the fact that, thankfully, I had realised I was being called as it had taken me long enough to realise.
I was licensed in 2002 but still had feelings that there was something more.
In 2004, I tried for ordination and was turned down and thought that was the end of it but, as the saying goes, God works in mysterious ways and three years ago Sue suggested I try again.
This time it was to be and I am delighted to be serving in the Melbourne benefice.
In our spare time Sue and I enjoy taking our Clumber Spaniel for walks in the countryside.
I also enjoy following the work of our emergency services and have the privilege of being the chaplain to Derby Mountain Rescue Team.
During my working life and reader ministry, I have had a deep interest in pastoral care and I hope my curacy will enable me to develop this further and reach out to those in need and reveal something of the love of God.
Favourite bible passage: 1 Samuel 3 1-10 - The call of the boy Samuel.
Favourite hymn: I the Lord of sea and sky.
Bringing the hope of the Gospel to those who are 'without God and without hope' has formed a large part of my activity
Will Eley: ordained deacon on 7 July 2019
Eight months ago, I moved home. Back to the city I grew up in. Back to serve in the church my Christian faith was nurtured for the first 18 years of my life.
James Milwain: ordained deacon on 30 June 2019
"It has been wonderful... to proclaim the Gospel, to preach regularly and to serve at the altar."
Hello, I’m the Reverend James Milwain and I am in many ways returning home to the Diocese, having grown up close to the city of Derby.
Sally-Anne Beecham: ordained deacon on 30 June 2019
"God is on the move and I’m excited to be joining in!"
I’m Sally-Anne Beecham and live in Chesterfield with my husband and two children aged 12 and 14.
I became a Christian at 21 after a friend at University told me about her faith and I nervously tried her church one Sunday.
Elaine Jones: ordained deacon on 30 June 2019
"I met Jesus sitting on a beach one evening at Easter"
I was born in Scotland and raised in the Church of Scotland, until the age of 9 when we moved to live in Cyprus after my dad was posted there.
In between riding horses and enjoying the Mediterranean beaches I attended a Pentecostal church.
Anthony Till: ordained deacon on 30 June 2019
"I have a strong sense of needing to stand up for people and address social justice issues"
My Name is Anthony Till and I'm married to Sandra who is also an ordinand. We have three adult children and six grandchildren and Kazbah our 13 year old Border Collie.
I have always lived in Derby and my family have always had a connection with St Edmund's, Allenton & Shelton Lock. My Aunty Edna was a founding member of the Church even before they had the existing Church that was built in 1939.
Dawn Knight: ordained deacon on 30 June 2019
"I am completely open to what and where God's mission takes me."
I’ve been married to Kevin for nearly 30 years, and am mum to 3 adult children, two here on earth, and one in God’s care.
I grew up in a working-class family in East London. My only involvement with Church was through “Church parades” when I was in the Brownies and Guides. At the age of 11, I was presented with a New Testament at school, decided to read it, and began to pray.