Eight women and two men will be ordained deacon by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, at a service in York Minster at 10.00am on Sunday 1st July 2018.
To see photographs from the day visit flickr
As Deacons they will assist in leading worship and undertake work in the local community while serving as Assistant Curate (an assistant minister, continuing their training in service) in a parish in the Diocese of York, which is the Church of England from the Humber to the Tees and from the A1 to the Yorkshire Coast.
Aged from 25 to 62, they include a former social worker, an actor and an optometrist; some will serve full-time while others will continue to support themselves through other means.
Dr John Sentamu said, “No matter who or where you are, God calls you – and I give thanks to God that He has called these ten people to serve as Deacons. Is God calling you? Are you listening to God’s commanding voice? Is your answer YES? Please join me in praying for our Deacons – for their ministry and for their followership of Jesus Christ, for all they will do in Jesus Christ’s name, for their local churches and their families, and for the blessing of others that the Lord will make of them! ‘Rejoice and be glad and let us exult in the Lord together!’”
Rebecca Allright spent 17 years in social care, initially as a psychiatric social worker and then in commissioning and project management. She is the daughter of one of the first women priests in the Church of England but found her own faith after undertaking an Alpha course as a student. Becky’s faith has always been sustained and supported by social action and outreach, while she enjoys both charismatic worship and quiet days and retreats. She has trained for ordination with St Hild College as a ‘contextual ordinand’ based at St Luke’s church in York where she helped support the establishment of a Forget-me-Not community, which is accessible church for people with memory problems. “I will be ordained as a pioneer and hope to bring the good news to people who don’t yet know Jesus outside of mainstream churches,” she says. Becky will serve as Assistant Curate in Drax, Carlton and Camblesforth (near Selby).
David Biggs studied computer games programming at university but felt God leading him on to something new, which to his surprise turned out to be ministry in the Church of England. David grew up in a Christian home; realising at the age of eight that Jesus could be his friend he went on to get stuck in with the Christian Union as a student, telling people the good news of Jesus. “I am now looking forward to proclaiming the gospel and equipping and releasing people to do the same and to serve the Church in the ways that God is calling them.” Married to Emma, David trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and will serve as Curate in the parish of Thirsk.
Lucy Brencher is a mum and a teacher with experience from toddlers to teenagers and from modern languages to parenting courses and church youth work. She describes her journey to ordination as “Slow and steady - small steps which have led me to this point of making myself available for God to use.” Married to Paul with three children, Lucy trained for ordination with St Hild College and will serve as Curate in the Parish of Rural Ainsty comprising Bickerton, Bilton, Catterton, Healaugh, Hessay, Moor Monkton and Wighill: “I am excited to join in with what God is doing in the lives of those in Rural Ainsty. I am particularly keen to play my part in building God’s kingdom and seeking God’s transformation in the lives of those in the villages where I will serve.”
Abigail Davison will continue to work as a health care assistant at York Hospital while serving as a self-supporting curate in York Minster. Abi felt a strong and clear calling to be a Deacon, a ministry of service which looks to cross boundaries and uncover where Christ is at work, particularly in the ‘forgotten corners’ of the world, and she trained for ordination with St Hild College. She is married to Chris and they have a two year old daughter. “I'm looking forward to getting to know the Minster family and exploring what a distinctly Diaconal role could look like in this unique setting,” she says.
Jill Gillanders worked as an optometrist before training for ministry. Jill's faith started to develop when she and Doug visited a vicar to ask him to marry them; he encouraged and inspired them in every way and they became part of the church family. In the 1990s they adopted two boys and Jill joined Vision Aid Overseas as an optometrist, visiting developing countries. Both these experiences gave rise to many challenges and a lot of questioning, and prompted Jill to begin studying theology. She discovered her calling while their parish church was in vacancy; she retired from optometry in 2016 to take up full-time contextual training in Middlesbrough and St Hild College, and will serve as Curate in the parish of Thirsk. “I feel fortunate and excited to be joining the team at St Mary's Thirsk and can't wait to get started,” she says.
Sally Gough is a chartered physiotherapist, once head of physiotherapy at Felixstowe hospitals, and more recently a teacher of piano and theory of music. Having worshipped in Methodist and Plymouth Brethren congregations as well as with both evangelical and catholic Anglicans, Sally has now found a home in “middle of the road churches”. She says that “God called me - shouted at me - in the middle of the night!” She hopes to help people learn about Jesus - "to grow the people who know, and reach the people who don't" - especially via the local Church of England school. Sally is a mother and grandmother with two little rescue dogs who keep her busy and out of mischief, and who join in various church activities. She trained for ordination at St Hild College and will serve as Curate at Thornton-le-Dale near Pickering.
Arleen Ingham has always had a deep faith in God and was influenced over many years by people of faith from across the world who came to stay in her family home, sometimes for quite long periods of time, including trainee Christian Pastors, Muslims and Jewish friends. “It made for very interesting and and very enriching conversations around our supper table,” says Arleen. “Those early years and my later years as a mature student prepared me for my call to ordination.” She studied Literature and Theology for ten years with a special interest in the role of women in the Bible and gained a PhD in 2007. “I pray that my mission for spreading the Christian Gospel will be blessed with opportunity and spontaneity.” Arleen trained for ordination with York School of Ministry and will serve as Assistant Curate at St Mary’s, Scarborough.
Shena Moray has been a Church Army evangelist for the past 12 years and enjoys imagining and providing creative prayer and sacred spaces for people to explore their own faith journey. She has been involved in ministry for over 30 years and enjoys being very creative in mission and evangelism. Shena has “two beautiful sons who are both grown and flown!”
“I’m passionate about continuing to offer the local community spaces with multi-sensory opportunities to engage with our living Lord,” she says, and is keen to explore how our local Churches can link into the UK’s current focus on wellbeing. Shena has trained for ordination with St Hild College and will serve as Assistant Curate at St Mark’s, Newby (Scarborough).
Michael Perkins began attending church in his teens but came to faith after receiving healing on a long-standing knee injury at a Riding Lights Summer Theatre School when he was 21. He went on to tour with Riding Lights’ ‘Roughshod’ theatre company and through this began to discern a call to ordained ministry, culminating in an experience of the Holy Spirit where Mike felt God call him to leadership within His church. “I hope I will be able to show God’s love in the community and in doing so that many will be bought into relationship with Jesus Christ,” he says. Mike trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and will serve as Assistant Curate at St Michael-le-Belfrey in York.
Miriam Swaffield is the daughter of a Baptist Minister and is currently Global Student Mission Leader for the Fusion Movement. She became involved in the Church of England via the ‘G2 York’ congregation while she was at university, and says, “I've been a leader in local church for ten years, and the national Church for seven, and now Jesus has finally convinced me that ordination as a deacon is the next step of obedience. I am incredibly hopeful and expectant for what the Spirit of God is already doing in this nation, and so I intend to play my part in God's renewal of all things.
“Through this experience I have also learnt to never say rash statements like ‘I will never ever get ordained in the Church of England.’ If I was wearing a hat, I'd now be eating it.” Miriam trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham, and will serve as Assistant Curate at St Michael-le-Belfrey in York.
For further information contact Martin Sheppard on 07377 356621 or [email protected].
Still images will be available from Martin Sheppard as above after the service.