THE Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, has ordained 16 women and men as deacon to serve in parishes across Sussex.
This year’s new clergy include a pharmacist, a fire and rescue control room operative and someone whose grandfather and father are also both ordained.
The Petertide Ordinations service was held on Saturday in Chichester Cathedral, where the new deacons where supported by family, friends and parishioners from the parishes in which they will serve.
Deacons assist priests, usually for a year, before going on to be ordained. They lead worship, offer pastoral care and gain valuable experience of preaching.
Bishop Martin said: “We are praying for each of them and I know that each of the communities in which they will serve will warmly welcome them and their families at the start of their public ministries.”
During his sermon, he said this was an important moment in the life of Christian men and women and a significant day for the Church.
He reflected on fashion and finance, saying: “The garments that are being worn by these candidates defy the transitory shifts of fashion in order to speak of a pattern of vesture that is centuries old.”
Jill Alderton, who grew up in East Grinstead, will serve in Crawley Downs.
She and her husband, Mark have lived and worshipped at St Andrew’s Church in Crawley for 31 years. They have two adult sons and enjoy country walking and cycling.
Sandra Bale, a pharmacist, will serve at Forest Row and Ashurst Wood.
She said: “My journey to faith began in the run up to my marriage to Richard 25 years ago and my vocational discernment between 2002 and 2012 was punctuated with long periods of inactivity, doubt and even rebellion.
“However, I now stand on the brink of an exciting new stage in my life with my study almost over and ordination.”
Debbie Beer will serve at Holy Trinity, Hurstpierpoint.
She lives in Burgess Hill and has worshipped at St Andrew’s Church since 2001.
“After my confirmation I had a strong sense that God wanted more and during a lay ministry course ordination was suggested,” she said.
“This took me well out of my comfort zone but the calling was confirmed in various ways and eventually I came to let go into a much deeper trust and joy in God.”
Hugh Bourne will serve in All Saints, Lindfield.
He is married to Ali and they have two young boys.
“After a number of years worshipping and serving at Bishop Hannington Church, Hove, I pursued a call to full-time parish ministry,” he said.
“We’ve spent the last three years together, learning and growing at Oak Hill College, feeling both well equipped yet unprepared for the challenges ahead.”
Gerry Burgess will serve at Gossops Green, Crawley.
She and his husband Steve have lived in Mid Sussex all their married lives and Gerry taught in East Grinstead until a few years ago.
She said: “After many years in village churches and the varied experiences provided by my training, I am excited to find God calling me to continue learning and sharing his welcoming love in my curacy.”
David Crook will serve at Easebourne, Lodsworth and Selham.
David has lived in Horsham for 21 years. He worked as a secondary school teacher in the Midlands and then, for almost 20 years, in universities, training history teachers, leading Masters’ courses, researching and writing.
He joined Westcott House theological college in Cambridge in 2011, which has helped to define his journey from private Christian to public Christian over the past two years.
Jamie Gater will serve at Ifield parish, Crawley.
He studied music at Chichester University then trained as a teacher, married Naomi and moved to Bognor Regis.
“We found a supportive and loving church family at St Wilfrid’s,” he said. “It was here that I was able to use my musical training and teaching skills and ordination was suggested as a possible way forward for me.”
They moved to Oxford with their one-year-old son Jonah as the process began.
“Overall, I have a sense of real excitement,” he said.
Sean Gilbert will serve at Christ Church, St. Leonards-on-sea.
Sean, 25, has lived in the Chichester area all his life and his father and grandfather were both priests.
In 2009 , he spent two months with Scripture Union, an evangelical organisation in Madagascar, working at a Christian centre.
“Coming from an Anglo-Catholic background I was totally out of my comfort zone, but it was in this context where I was called by God to be a priest while reading Isaiah 41:8-10.”
David Howland will serve at Horsted Keynes.
A school business manager, he grew up in the Christian faith and first felt a calling to ordained ministry about 25 years ago but pushed it aside.
“However, that was not the end of the story, God came calling again and after some significant challenges, I was accepted for training and the discovery of gifts the Lord has given me of which I was previously unaware,” he said.
“I look forward to using all that God has given me in his service as I join his mission and ministry in the Diocese.”
He and his wife Sarah celebrated their silver wedding in October. They have two children, Oliver, 12, and Charlotte, seven.
James Isaacs will serve at Hailsham Parish Church.
He said: “I grew up in East Grinstead, so this will be a joyous return to Sussex for me.
“It is a privilege to be set aside for full time gospel work and I am looking forward to getting stuck into parish life, as I look to get to know people well and help them grow in their walk with Jesus.”
He is married to Monica and they have a ten-month-old daughter, Rebecca.
Nicol Kinrade will serve at Ditchling, Streat and West Meston.
She said: “My journey to ordination has taken a rather varied and scenic route. I was brought up in the Church of England, and was confirmed at university.
“After studying as a museum curator, and working for the Tower of London and the RAF Museum, I met my husband, Paul, and we moved to New York for a couple of years.
“On our return, we moved to Sussex, where I had the time and space to really think about who I was, who God was calling me to be.
“Through the amazing churches of Bury with Houghton, Coldwaltham and Hardham, I was able to explore my faith and start to name that deep call I felt within me.”
Sarah Manouch, who works in the Christian bookshop in Chichester will serve at West Wittering.
She was born in Chichester and has lived there all her life. She worships at St Paul’s Church, serves on the PCC and Deanery Synod, and has been a lay minister.
“After leaving school, I worked for 25 years in the pensions industry, whilst also volunteering for The Red Cross, British Heart Foundation and Age UK, although not consecutively,” she said.
“Redundancy gave me the opportunity to open myself up to what I had been deliberately ignoring, the call to ordained ministry.”
Ben Sear will serve at Patcham
He and his wife Claudia are looking forward to getting to know people in the parish.
Adam Ransom will serve at Christ Church with St. Philip, Eastbourne
He completed a degree in theology at Chichester University before moving to Cornwall to work as a crematorium technician.
“I am looking forward to returning to Sussex, to ordination and to being able to begin to live out my vocation in the parish.”
Sara-Jane Stevens will serve in the community of St Matthew’s Church, Worthing.
Sara-Jane has clocked up nearly 16 years in the control room for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“My journey to ordination has been a long one,” she said.
“Like many of my colleagues in theological training, it turns out that I had a lot of living and learning to do first.
“The call to be ordained first came when I was very young and over the following years I attempted to discover how this might come about, by exploring different vocations and types of Christian ministry.
“Life has been inspirational, exciting, hectic and humbling over the past three years and I fully expect that will continue in Worthing.”
Christine Spencer will serve in the parish of St Mary’s, Storrington
Christine, a nurse, thought she would probably become a nun. She took on roles in her local parish and participated in the Bishop’s Certificate in the quest for more knowledge.
“However, the thirst for a greater understanding didn’t abate and I spoke to my wise parish priest and began the journey through the discernment process in the Chichester Diocese.”
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