Meet some ordinands
I was taught and genuinely believed women were not allowed to preach if there were men around because it was sinful
Cathie Watson: to be ordained deacon in July 2022
Hi I'm Cathie. I've lived in various places across the UK but this is my first time living in the Midlands.
I'm from South Wales but I've also lived in Surrey and most recently in Bristol.
Growing up I never would have dreamed of getting ordained.
The only female minister I'd ever seen was Geraldine Granger, the Vicar of Dibley! I thought that because it was a TV programme women vicars were also fictional as I'd only seen men in church leadership roles!
I remember once in the independent church I attended when I was 17 that the son of one of the elders was getting the chance to preach.
As one of the only other young people there I found myself thinking: "Why does he get to share the things God shows him about the Bible with others but I don't just because I'm a girl?"
But I quickly smothered that thought down because I was taught and genuinely believed that girls and women were not allowed to preach or teach if there were men around because it was sinful.
When I went away to university I saw a couple of women preaching for the first time.
Sadly, this was not an eye opening moment that it wa okay because they were not the most enigmatic preachers!
I thought it must be a sign that God doesn't want women to preach rather than than perhaps those individuals may benefit from extra training!
However, a few months later a friend of mine convinced me to go to the student version of Soul Survivor for the first time.
Here I heard Ali Martin preaching.
She was such a gifted communicator who preached amazing things about Jesus, I couldn't believe it.
But I still wrestled with the fact that proof exists (1 Timothy 2:12) and figured Ali must be an exception, not the rule.
Years later, after I met and married my husband, he was exploring ordination.
He kept telling me that I should be looking tooand used to leave copies of the ordinal around the house for me to read.
One day, when clearing up (a rare occasion!), a copy caught my eye and I decided to read it to see what Aidan was signing himself up for.
As I read it I couldn't understand why the ordinal was just for ordained people - surely all Christians are to live this way?
I said as much to him and to a lecturer at Trinity and they both confirmed separately that no, sadly not all Christians do feel called to this.
Conversations with God
I started wrestling with God and felt very annoyed at him.
The conversation/prayer went like this:
Me: "God, Why have you made me feel like the ordinal resonates so much and why give me certain gifts that could bless the church and world if I'm not allowed to as a woman!?"
God: "why do you think it's not okay for you to do these things as a woman?"
Me: "Because the Bible says so."
God: "Don't you think I know what the Bible says better than you do?"
God: "Go read and listen to what other Christians who accept women in Christian leadership say the Bible says and then let's talk about this some more."
Me: "Bit pointless because I already know what it says but okay…"
That day I found a talk from a previous Soul Survivor festival where Krish Kendiah simply laid out different bible passages side by side which complementarians and egalitarians draw their understanding from.
I had no idea there were so many Bible passages and examples of Jesus' treatment of women that affirmed women in leadership.
As I heard them side by side, I was increasingly gobsmacked.
I distinctly remember that when he read out Galatians 3:28 - "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" - that I felt like a bolt of lightening of understanding go through me from holy spirit.
I wept with inexpressible joy, peace and freedom. I felt God say "I told you so, now I want you to use those gifts and calling for me."
The road since then has been strange with a mixture of highs and lows.
After completing my time at Trinity College Bristol, having my son during that training, and my husband finishing his curacy in Bristol, I'm so excited to get to serve Jesus in an ordained capacity at St Werburgh's Derby (STW).
I'm looking forward potentially to a Church plant as part of my curacy along with helping university students grow in faith and confidence in the gospel and to show Derby that the gospel is good news for all.
Favourite Bible verse: I don't actually like to pick out individual verses because I think the lack of context can confuse or muddy the meaning! But for the sake of this I'd probably go with Phil. 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Favourite Christian song: I'm going to cheat and use two - Good Good Father by Chris tomlin because I'm always reminded what a good Father God is and Reckless Love by Cory Asbury because I think it's a great proclamation of truth about God's love for us.
I enjoy spending time outside and connecting with God through the natural world
Jo Harbidge: to be ordained deacon in July 2022
My name is Jo Harbidge and I have just completed two years training at Trinity College Bristol, where I completed a post-graduate diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission and have begun a research Masters (MTh) in Mission.
I’m currently exploring hospitality as a model for mission and have a particular interest in the church’s response to refugees and asylum seekers.
I will serve my curacy in the parish of St John’s, Walton, close to Chesterfield.
I grew up in St Albans and have had a faith since my earliest days in Sunday school.
As a teenager, this faith developed through trips to the Taizé community in France and Soul Survivor summer festivals and church.
I love connecting with God in different ways and finding out where the Spirit is at work amongst those who know Jesus.
I have sensed a call to serve in the church since my teens but it has been a long journey of gaining experience in different areas to finally bring me to full-time training and ordination.
There hasn’t really been a ‘lightbulb’ moment so much as a steady and growing awareness in those around me, and in myself, that this is where God is asking me to go next.
Prior to training, I worked in mid-Wales, in secondary education, for more than 15 years.
I love learning and helping others to learn, a theme that has continued through my time at college and I hope to be able to help support and inspire others in their learning about God and faith in the future.
I enjoy spending time outside and connecting with God through the natural world.
I like trying to grow things and am excited by how the church can connect with local communities through outdoor activities such as prayer walking, community gardens and allotment spaces.
I’m looking forward to exploring the Peak District and learning more about a beautiful area of the country!
Favourite Bible verse: Acts 2:42-47, where Luke describes the fellowship and devotion of the early believers as the church began to grow.
Favourite hymn: It’s hard to pick a favourite hymn but as someone who has lived in Wales for many years Dyma Gariad (Here is Love) has got to be up there!
I felt that I’d missed out on so many years with God and I want others to have the opportunity
Fiona Barber: to be ordained deacon in July 2022
Hi, I’m Fiona and I will serve my curacy just south of the city in Sinfin Moor.
I have just finished an amazing three years studying a BA in Theology, Ministry and Mission at St. Mellitus College, East Midlands and The Good Shepherd, Loughborough.
Although I spent my childhood attending church I didn’t come to faith until my mid-thirties, through an Alpha course.
I have had a passion for mission from the outset because I felt that I’d missed out on so many years with God and I wanted others to have the opportunity to know God’s story and to be able to choose to follow Him.
"The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood." (John 1:14) This verse is my inspiration to share my faith in my neighbourhood and encourage others to do the same so I’m thrilled to be serving my curacy in a pioneering setting on a new housing estate in Sinfin Moor, working to build community amongst those who come to live and work there.
I am creative at heart having studied Jewellery and Silversmithing at art college and having used my creativity later as a primary school teacher and then as children's and families leader in my sending church.
I move to Derby with my husband, Martin, and our two daughters, Alice, (21) who is at Leeds University and Rosie, (18) who will be heading off to university this autumn.
We are looking forward to the adventures and opportunities that God has for us in this new place and with these new people.
Favourite Bible verse: John 1:14 (The Message) “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.”
Favourite hymn: I have a vast range of taste musically (my CD collection has from Abba to Stormzy in it!) - my two favourite hymns/songs are also on different ends of the spectrum: “Be Thou my Vision” and “Oceans” by Hillsong.
I’m grateful that no tear is ever wasted by God
Fay Price: to be ordained deacon in July 2022
My home town is Cheltenham in Gloucestershire and I have was hugely privileged to grow up in a Christian home.
I had various life challenges and got a bit angry with God in my teens, but God continued to pursue me and I returned to church age 20 and sensed a call to ordination in the first year of my return to faith, so have been carrying the call for about 22 years now!
It’s a delight to start my curacy at St Alkmund's this year and hope that God will use me as he sees fit!
I have a career background in theatre in education and education administration which involved my last five years prior to ordination working for the Diocese of Gloucester education team.
I am passionate about helping people to understand something of the depth of God’s love for them and the world and am motivated by discipleship, mission and supporting people to draw close to Christ in the midst of all types of suffering and grief.
This is much of my own personal testimony and I believe it’s part of why God has called me to His church.
I’m grateful that no tear is ever wasted by God.
Other passions include, in no particular order: coffee, cheese, prayer, my cat Bundle, my family and gorgeous God children, lego, and reading.
I also have a hugely eclectic music taste which can make people chuckle. Does anyone else remember and love the Wombles?!
Favourite hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness and favourite modern worship song is Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, because that’s the God I know and can testify about!
Favourite Bible passage: Isaiah 61 - Sums the gospel up beautifully and sums up my journey with God, too!
Meet the eight ordained as deacons at Derby Cathedral in July.
Ordinands 2022: Cathie Watson
Ordinands 2022: Jo Harbidge
Ordinands 2022: Fiona Barber
Ordinands 2022: Fay Price
Ordinands 2022: Elliot George
Ordinands 2022: Rhiannon Singleton
Ordinands 2022: Lisa Taylor
Ordinands 2022: Sam Mackie
Meet our ordinands: Bex Allpress
Meet our ordinands: Jeff Golding
Meet our ordinands: Sam Dennis
Meet our ordinands: Charlotte Wallington
Meet our ordinands: Mel Hartley
Meet our ordinands: Ellie Launders-Brown
Meet our ordinands: Julius Anozie
Meet our ordinands: Becky Reeve
Meet our ordinands: Rachel Burdett
Meet our ordinands: John Ferguson
I've always had a sense of calling to ordained ministry, but assumed that either God or I had got it wrong!
Elliot George: to be ordained deacon in July 2022
I'm Elliot, and for almost all of my 32 years I've lived in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire.
I'll be ordained in July 2022 as the new curate for the Dronfield with Holmesfield Parish, and Megan and I are really looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us up there!
We're particularly looking forward to engaging with young people, music, and bridging connections with the parish's five churches.
Although I've been a "Christian" for my whole life, it wasn't until I was 13 when I first encountered the Holy Spirit that I began to have a true relationship with Jesus – showing me the errors of my adolescent mischief but surrounding me with his love and grace.
God has never failed to be with me even through my darker days, and more than ever I know that he is strong when I am weak.
To some extent, I've always had a sense of calling to ordained ministry, but assumed that either God or I had got it wrong!
For a long time I wanted to be a psychiatrist/therapist, hoping to help people by helping them understand themselves better; but academia wasn't my friend as a teenager and I never went to uni, instead I worked in electronics for a decade.
During this time, my role at church grew and expanded – worship leader, youth leader, PCC member, preacher, etc – but it wasn't until I proposed to Megan in 2016 that I felt the call to ordination reawaken, and felt a fresh outpouring of God's grace amongst my many failures and weaknesses.
Three years of patience, discernment, support from friends and family, and finally a thumbs-up from the Bishop's Advisory Panel, and we were off to train at Trinity College Bristol, and earn that degree I'd missed out on the first time around!
So here we are, on the brink of ordination, (which is both exciting and terrifying!) and I've never been so sure that God has amazing plans for us to bring his kingdom on earth, alongside amazing people to share this calling with.
A particular passion of mine is helping others to see their own calling, and hopefully helping them grow into the person God made them to be, so let’s get started together!
Favourite Bible verse: Psalm 23 has always had a special place in my heart, and helped me know God even in the valleys. But, as clichéd as it is, John 3:16 for me summarises the whole gospel in one verse: God lovingly and graciously gave his Son that we may have life to the full.
Favourite worship song: "So Will I" by Hillsong, which not only beautifully speaks of God's creation and Jesus's redemption of the world, but declares how I will respond in worship and service to him. "I can see your heart eight billion different ways, every precious one a child you died to save. If you gave your life to love them, so will I."
My passion was trying to help children and families have the best possible quality of life
Rhiannon Singleton: to be ordained deacon in July 2022
My name is Rhiannon, and I was brought up in the Salvation Army until my parents moved us to a Presbyterian church when I was 15.
This started theological reflection and questioning as I started trying to reconcile very different understandings of some Bible passages.
I chose to attend an Anglican church aged 17 but, after marrying, we attended one of the new churches for many years.
We moved to Glossop in 1999 - convinced God wanted us in an Anglican church - and have been part of Whitfield Parish since then.
During this time, I have been a member of and led small groups, been on the prayer ministry team, on PCC and Deanery Synod and helped with a variety of church events, particularly enjoying helping with Messy Church and holiday clubs.
I was a Street Pastor for nearly a decade.
It was a privilege to show God’s love in this way and fascinating seeing and hearing what unchurched people thought about faith and the church.
I learned a huge amount, including that many non-Christians are comfortable asking faith questions when they are ‘on their own turf’ but would not consider entering a church to ask them.
I worked for the NHS most of my working life, as a children’s physiotherapist working with children with disabilities and their families in the community.
My passion was trying to help children and families have the best possible quality of life, given the disabilities children had and I took on roles which allowed me to forward this agenda.
I retired early when Occupational Health decided my health was not compatible with working with these children.
My husband Geoff and I met as students and have been married for 40 years and we have 2 (or 3) children, depending on how you count: our birth sons Barney and Pete, and Myrle, who we fostered decades ago and remains part of our family.
I love walking in the country, gardening, reading, sewing and knitting - when time allows.
Favourite hymns: there are so many, I might choose different ones on different days. Today's are ‘Thine be the Glory’ and ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’ by Rend Collective.
Favourite Bible verses: Among my favourites are John 3.16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life", Rom 12.1-2 and Eph 3.14-21.
Communion service is where I feel closest to Jesus
Lisa Taylor: to be ordained deacon in July 2022
I am excited to be joining the United Benefice of Atlow, Bradley, Hognaston, Hulland and Kniveton in July.
I am originally from Birmingham and I grew up in a secular family, coming to faith in 2011 and feeling a call to ordination soon after that, although I did not seriously explore ordination until 2016.
My ordination training was at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.
After I left school, I joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a telecommunications operator, where I had a great career and enjoyed doing many sports including fencing and luge.
Twenty-eight years later, I left the RAF to answer my call to ordination.
Whilst working with the Oxford Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO), I worked in Aylesbury Prison as a teaching assistant, helping the young men who had learning difficulties with their education.
For me, it was a blessed time where God helped me to work with people who I would not normally have had chance to meet.
My sending church is: Church of the Holy Spirit in Aylesbury.
I have been on the PCC and Deanery Synod along with a number of other roles within the church.
I was also a Street Angel for the Aylesbury Church network, where we go out as a team of three on a Friday or Saturday evening in Aylesbury Town centre representing God’s presence and to care for the night-time economy.
A move to Derbyshire is exciting as I enjoy walking, so I am looking forward to exploring the five parishes of the benefice in the glorious countryside.
I also enjoy gardening and cooking, although baking is not something I have been able to master - yet.
My preferred service is the communion service, it is where I feel closest to Jesus.
One of my favourite hymns: In Christ Alone.
One of my favourite Bible verses: Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I have particularly been able to focus in on Disability Theology
Sam Mackie: to be ordained deacon in June 2022
Hi, I’m Sam! I’m originally from down south in rural Gloucestershire, you may be imagining cheese-rolling and Hot Fuzz, and I wouldn’t want to stop you thinking that!
For the last three years I’ve been living in Birmingham and training at the Queen’s Foundation.
From the breadth of study within Theology, Ministry and Mission and my own research, I have particularly been able to focus in on Disability Theology.
This comes from my own identity as a disabled person but also the joy of exploring the vastness of Jesus Christ.
Gradually travelling north, I left for Herefordshire to train in graphic design.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have developed a lot of church branding, websites and posters over the years.
It was also during this time I started to discern where God was calling me.
Having explored religious life (being a nun!), and working full-time praying for people over the phone, I decided to work for a year in a parish church in Hereford.
The idea of being a priest completely terrified me but I kept exploring what this might look like!
[Somewhere in this time I had my next-door neighbour tell me that she didn’t believe women should be ordained.
Rather surprisingly, this is the clearest moment I felt God calling me. Instead of feeling threatened by this, it lit a fire in me, giving me a deeper knowing that God was calling me to become a priest.]
Before coming to Birmingham, I had the joy of getting to be a part of the Chaplaincy team at Keele University.
It was there that I started to more seriously embrace God’s call to ordained ministry, where I had the privilege and the invitation to travel with those in their everyday experiences - a ministry of reaching those on the margins and a practicing to be a visible reminder of God’s love through hospitality.
On days off I’m likely to be exploring Derbyshire countryside with my trusty camera, cooking with friends, or print making.
It’s with this mixture of experience that I come to be ordained deacon, very excited and possibly a little less terrified than before.
I look forward to serving as curate across Swadlincote Minister.
Favourite Bible verse: I always love the passages which involve food and where we get the reminder that God came to be with us. Jesus’ meal with Zacchaeus does both these things, where He says: ‘“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”’ (Luke 19:10)
Favourite hymn: Very difficult to pick one, but I always love a song that gets everyone singing with enthusiasm. So I’ll go for: Tell Out, My Soul.
Meet our ordinands: Bex Allpress
Meet our ordinands: Jeff Golding
Meet our ordinands: Sam Dennis
Meet our ordinands: Charlotte Wallington
Meet our ordinands: Mel Hartley
Meet our ordinands: Ellie Launders-Brown
Meet our ordinands: Julius Anozie
Meet our ordinands: Becky Reeve
Meet our ordinands: Rachel Burdett
Meet our ordinands: John Ferguson
Learn to be a blessing to each other and to grow and nurture each other in our faith
Bex Allpress: ordained deacon in June 2021 - to be ordained priest in July 2022
My name is Bex and I will be serving as a curate across four parish churches within Swadlincote Minster:
- Emmanuel Church, in the Parish of Swadlincote
- Saint Peter’s Church, in the Parish of Hartshorne
- Saint John’s Church, in the Parish of Newhall and…
- Saint George and Saint Mary’s Church in the Parish of Church Gresley.
During my curacy placement, I will have plenty of opportunities to work with lots of people, from across all four parish churches, as part of a dynamic ministry team within the minster.
I am excited to be serving and learning within existing and new forms of ministry within the Swadlincote area, sharing my vocational journey alongside others who are realising their own.
Thankfully I am not an entire stranger to the minster having been on placement here over the last two years during my training for ordained ministry with Saint Mellitus College.
During my training I have had the chance to be involved with aspects of ministry across the Swadlincote area which has helped to form a platform on which to grow during my time here as a curate.
Prior to working in ministry, I worked for 15 years in the National Health Service across a variety of surgical specialities within the operating departments.
Despite sounding gruesome, it was a really engaging career where I gained plenty of experience across life matters.
Although I have some fond memories, I felt God was calling me to explore working further within full time ministry.
My journey in the Christian faith began when I was only three years old attending Sunday school on a regular basis at my local parish church in Derbyshire.
From the age of 14, I then began volunteering as a Sunday school teacher until at 18 years old I left to study at university in Wales.
It was in Wales that I met my husband and after eight years we moved back to Derbyshire.
Only after we moved back did I feel God was drawing me to be more involved once more within the church.
I began helping as a leader within our local church parent and toddler group and when I had to give this up due to changes at work, I first thought that my sense of calling was a call to return back to continue serving this group.
Despite a lengthy discernment process, I realised that God has His timings in hand because the year I was ready to begin formal ordination training was the same year that the new St. Mellitus College opened in Nottingham.
I was super excited to begin my training there and have the privilege of being the first ordinand from Derby to train with them.
My journey is probably one best described as being quite ordinary but filled with extra-ordinary moments.
As for me, I have just this year decided to have a go at growing my own vegetables.
It’s something that I’ve never done before so everything is a learning journey to see what takes well and what doesn’t.
I recently harvested my first crop of potatoes and, although they were smaller than expected, they still tasted delicious!
Favourite Bible Message: When it comes to having favourite bible messages, the importance for me is that the messages speak something significant into the way we live our lives. There are three Bible messages that I incorporate daily into my life. The first of these is taken from Matthew 22:37-40. In this message, Jesus shares with us the two most important rules for living well; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself”. Two very simple rules for living a healthy and active faith, love God and love those around you. From these two simple rules flows God’s transformative power into our lives and into the world. As we start to see positive transformations, we become more attuned to the various gifts and talents that God blesses us all with. We must recognise how these gifts are to be used to help each other in our discipleship journey’s and how we must support and encourage each other, through the good times and in the pain of life. The Apostle Paul reflects on this in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 and 12:14 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone…Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many” and in Romans 12:15-16 when he says that as a community of disciples we must “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep (and) live in harmony with one another”.
In summary; To learn to be a blessing to each other and to grow and nurture each other in our faith, requires loving God, loving each other, recognising what each of us has to contribute to one another and finding strength in a community who endeavour together through each season in life. That’s my take-home message for effective everyday living in Christian faith which I draw upon daily for inspiration.
God put it on our hearts to explore Derby
Jeff Golding: ordained deacon in June 2021 - to be ordained priest in July 2022
My name is Jeff Golding, I am married to Kim, and we have two children, Phoebe (3) and Jesse(1).
I grew up in South East London but have spent the last three years in Cambridge, studying at Ridley Hall.
My family was non-religious when I was growing up (although most have come to faith now).
I came to faith when I was 18 years old.
My faith journey started when I was ten when I was diagnosed with cancer.
Although I had no idea who God was, it was the beginning of thinking about whether there was more to life.
However, after several years of being in remission, at 18, I had a second cancer scare.
Fortunately, it was not cancer this time, but I nonetheless found Jesus in this experience.
At my baptism, someone prophesied that I would one day be “wearing a dog collar!”
I placed these words on the back burner and decided to study computer animation at university.
After completing my studies, I went on to do many jobs, including youth work for my local council and my church.
However, training for ordained ministry never disappeared.
When I was in my late twenties, while I was a pen salesman (I sold really posh fountain pens!), God brought this calling to the forefront.
After getting through my BAP, my wife and I packed up and moved to Cambridge with a two-month old baby.
Although we always intended to return to our sending diocese, God put it on our hearts to explore Derby.
After several months of praying and listening, we knew this was where God was calling us.
We are so excited to be moving to Derby and being part of what God is doing in the East Midlands, seeing the Kingdom grow, and seeing people’s lives transformed by God.
Looking after two little children have meant some of my hobbies have taken a back seat.
However, I still really enjoy cooking a delicious curry for new and old friends, cosying up on the sofa with a good boxset, and chilling in coffee shops talking about life with friends.
Favourite Bible verse - Matthew 14:22-31, where Jesus calls Peter to walk to Him on the water. It reminds me of Jesus’ call for all of us to a life of water-walking. However, stepping out ofthe boat is often scary, but we must “take courage!” and trust that Jesus is always there,whatever we might face.
Favourite song: “Oceans” by Hillsong, because it encapsulates my call to ordination.
I am passionate about the opportunities that can be created to allow children and young people to explore their faith
Sam Dennis - ordained deacon in June 2021 - to be ordained priest in July 2022
I have been training with the All Saints’ Centre for the last three years in preparation for ordination as deacon.
My study has been part-time; some in Derby during the evenings and residential weekends in Crewe.
I have been studying alongside working full-time.
My day job is working for the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham as their deputy director of education.
I have worked in Church of England schools throughout my teaching career and am passionate about the opportunities that can be created to allow children and young people to explore their faith and ask those ‘big questions.’
I worship at All Saints’ Parish Church in Sawley and have done so since I attended the Sunday School as a young child.
I have been very involved with children’s work in the church over the years and am looking forward to continuing to develop the skills I have learnt during my training in other areas of parish ministry during my curacy.
I will serve my curacy at All Saints’ as a self-supporting minister and also continue working.
I am married to Phil, who is a butcher, and I have two daughters and a step-daughter.
All the girls are grown up now and our eldest had a baby last year; we are really enjoying being grandparents.
We have two rescue dogs, who have been living their best life during lockdown as I have been working from home since the middle of March 2020.
It goes both ways though and I have also been very grateful of their company over the last year or so.
Having been a half-hearted knitter since my children were little, I have recently learnt to crochet and am really enjoying making some baby clothes for my granddaughter – it is surprisingly easy.
We also enjoy taking our dogs out, walking along the River Trent which is on our doorstep.
Favourite bible passage I don’t have a passage that has stood the test of time as ‘always a favourite.’ Passages seem to speak to me more at sometimes than others, but Philippians 4:13 is one I often return to ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me’
Favourite hymn It is hard to choose … ‘Thorns in the Straw’ by Graham Kendrick …
My vision of ordained ministry is to walk alongside others in such a way that our relationship with Jesus is deepened, and that those who don’t know him encounter him.
Charlotte Wallington - ordained deacon in June 2021 - to be ordained priest in July 2022
I’m excited to be ordained in June and beginning my curacy in the benefice of Hathersage, Bamford and Grindleford.
I grew up in Greater London, in a Christian home and attended a large local church. I came to faith at the age of nine.
Because I became a Christian when I was such a young child, my faith is so integral to me that I cannot imagine who I would be as a person without it.
As for everyone, my life has had its ups and downs but in all these things I have known God’s presence with me.
I finally made the decision to offer myself for ordination after a deep sense of challenge, followed by prayer and reflection on Moses’ encounter with God in Exodus 3.
I had known from the age of about twenty that I was being called to ordination, so the challenge of Exodus 3 was the culmination of a long journey for me to get to this point of being faithful to that calling.
I am so glad that now I have.
For the last two years I’ve been hugely privileged to study at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford and hope to take the lessons I’ve learned there, and the ones I will learn in my curacy, as I grow in ministry.
On a personal note, I particularly love to spend time with my family, I have four nieces and two nephews.
Other personal interests include reading, meeting up and chatting with friends, and walking.
Worship is a very important part of my life; it is not really possible to pin down one favourite song as I have lots of favourites - so in honesty the list would be way too long! But one of my favourite hymns is ‘Tell Out My Soul The Greatness Of The Lord’, and two of my favourite worship songs are ‘Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me’ and ‘In The Darkness We Were Waiting’ (King of Kings).
Mel Hartley: ordained deacon in June 2021 - to be ordained priest in July 2022
My name is Mel Hartley and I have just completed two years with St Hild College, studying for an MA in Theology, Ministry and Mission.
I shall be ordained in June 2021 and serve my curacy in the north of the diocese, in the parishes of Eyam, Baslow and Foolow.
I came to faith as child, when at the age of 7, I used to question the caretaker of a local Wesleyan chapel as he arrived.
I asked him so many questions he started a Sunday School, which was the start of my faith journey.
I attended church through my years as a child and then a youth, occasionally with my mum and brother, but after a couple of earlier years, I attended alone.
My faith grew and I became increasingly frustrated with how to communicate my wonderful experiences with church, into words and practices that my family would relate to or have an interest in – I guess this sparked my passion for mission and reaching those beyond the fringes of our churches.
I have been in education for the last twenty years – starting as a lecturer of music, then moving to classroom teaching and also supporting further education students with specific learning disabilities.
Along side my career in education I continued to lead in churches: being a local preacher in the Methodist Church and leading various groups, projects and times of worship.
I completed an MA in Mission in 2011 alongside my teaching – to enable my ministry further.
I candidated successfully for Methodist Ministry and started my training at Queens College… but there was something that didn’t quite fit.
It was training alongside ordinand colleagues in an ecumenical environment that allowed me to explore my personal call further.
After much searching, I asked the Methodist Church to release me from training and found my home in the local Anglican church – where my husband was already leading Messy Church – we were already rooted amongst our Anglican friends.
Several years later, I became a candidate for ordained ministry in the Anglican Church and was overwhelmingly affirmed.
My prayer is that I enable others through my own call, and that I can demonstrate His love in areas of our communities where the church doesn’t always reach.
As a trauma survivor, I spent many years feeling unworthy.
The verse from Jeremiah 2:13, talking of broken cisterns that hold no water, reminds me that we all have the ability to hold streams of living water when we learn to fully embrace his grace. My favourite Bible verse is Galatians 2:21, ‘I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.’ My favourite hymn is Amazing Grace.
The countryside is my sanctuary and I love walks. I’m a creative person and as such I cover my desk with pictures, journaling, diagrams, art, sewing and music… and I love making lists to make everything ordered! I am married to Matt, and we have four amazing daughters: Elizabeth (16), Evelyn (13), Niamh (11), Miriam (9)… and an Irish Red Setter called Milo!
My favourite Bible verse is Galatians 2:21: ‘I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.’
My favourite hymn is Amazing Grace.
It was during my time in the choir that I first felt God’s calling on my life
Ellie Launders-Brown: ordained deacon in June 2021 - to be ordained priest in July 2022
I am Ellie Launders-Brown, I am training for ordination at St Mellitus College South West Centre based in Plymouth and currently living and ministering in the diocese of Bath & Wells.
Before training I was an aircraft engineer, spending 14 years in the Royal Navy and a further 12 years as a civilian contractor.
I will be serving my curacy in the East Scarsdale benefice consisting of the parishes of Shirebrook, Pleasley, Upper Langwith and Whaley Thorns.
I grew up in a village called Whitburn, on the North East Coast just to the north of Sunderland.
I was baptised in the Methodist church, but I desperately wanted to sing.
After being told by my junior school music teacher I had the most untrainable voice he’d ever heard, I went to join the local parish church choir.
It was during my time in the choir that I first felt God’s calling on my life, but at that point, women couldn’t be ordained into the priesthood, and I had neither the maturity or the experience to know how to respond to that calling.
I have been with my partner Jo for 25 years and in a civil partnership 15 years. She was born in Derbyshire and is delighted to be returning home. We have two labradors Toby and Gypsy.
Reconciling faith and sexuality was a difficult time and being banished from the church simply because of who I am hurt me and cut deeply.
I felt disguarded and abandonded, but God never gave up on me and still kept calling me into ordained ministry.
When I finally answered this calling with a “yes”, I suddenly felt free, protected, needed and loved and I knew where my life was going and that God had a plan for my life.
Inclusion is important to me and it’s what drives me forward in my ministry.
I firmly believe that we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” (psalm 139:14), and I look to seek out and welcome all who have been or feel excluded from hearing God’s message and make the church an inclusive and safe place for everyone.
I have a passion for choral music, nature and God’s creation and following the highs and mainly lows of Sunderland Football Club.
Favourite Bible passage: Isaiah 43:1 “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Favourite hymn: And can it be – Charles Wesley, when I answered God’s call, the release and clarity that I felt resonated with the words of the chorus:-
My chains fell off,
my heart was free,
I rose, went forth and followed thee.