Archbishop to ordain eight new deacons in Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday

Six men and two women including a former farmer, a G.P., the first Chinese woman from South East Asia to be ordained into the Church of England and a Fire Safety Officer will become new Church of England curates at a special ordination service in Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday 30 June. Eight others will be ordained priest at a Cathedral service later the same day.

Within the Church of England there are three stages of ordained ministry: deacons, priests and bishops. Following training at theological college, newly ordained deacons are appointed to a three to four year post of curate, for training alongside an experienced vicar. After one year, deacons are ordained priest.

Archbishop Rowan Williams will ordain the following eight people as deacons in Canterbury Cathedral at 11.00 am on Saturday 30 June:

Dr Christine Arnold (SSM) St Peter-in-Thanet
Ken Cox (SSM) St Laurence in the Isle of Thanet
Eileen Harrop (S) Tenterden, St Mildred with St Michael and All Angels and Smallhythe St John the Baptist
Craig Hunt (S) Canterbury, St Mary Bredin
Ben Jones (S) St John the Baptist, Foord, Folkestone
Chris Pickles (S)
  1. Canterbury, St Peter with St Alphege and St Margaret and St Mildred with St Mary de Castro
  2. Canterbury, St Dunstan with Holy Cross
Alan Pinnegar (S) Bearsted with Thurnham
Nick Ratcliffe (SSM)
  1. Chartham
  2. The Stone Street Group



Stipendiary (S); Self-Supporting Minister (SSM)


Information about the deacons

Dr Christine Arnold

After attending an Alpha course, GP and Community Pediatrician, Christine Arnold (51), started to sense she was called to ordained ministry. Eight years ago she attended a vocations’ day run by the Diocese and following a discernment process, she commenced part time theological training with SEITE (South East Institute of Theological Education).

Christine, who is married with two sons, will serve her curacy as a self-supporting minister in St Peter-in-Thanet and will continue to work part-time as a Community Pediatrician. Christine who is also a music-lover, commented: “I am excited about the opportunity to serve God in Broadstairs. I long for everyone to experience the healing and transforming love of God in Jesus.”

Ken Cox

Ken Cox, 57, who served in the RAF for nearly 33 years, works currently as a fire safety officer for the NHS in Kent. For twelve years, Ken worshipped at St Catherine’s Church in Manston, where he also served as a churchwarden.

Ken describes the walk towards ordination ‘as a long one’, commenting: “The seeds were sown some years back when my incumbent suggested I had the qualities to go forward for ordination.” After resisting the call, Ken eventually attended a vocations’ day and went on to train with SEITE (South East Institute of Theological Education).

Ken will serve his curacy as a self-supporting minister with the St Laurence in Thanet Team Ministry. Ken commented: “I look forward with hope and excitement to the future years of ministry amongst God’s people.” Ken, who includes attending air shows as one of his hobbies, is married to Sue, with whom he has two grown-up children.

Eileen Harrop

Eileen Harrop is the first Chinese woman from South East Asia to be ordained in the Diocese of Canterbury. Born in Singapore to a British colonial evangelical Brethren family, Eileen came to England to study at university, where she met husband Brian.

Eileen who says her ‘occupational life reads like fiction’ has worked as a teacher, hospital manager, as a business consultant, a Governor of a high security prison and as a government advisor for the health service. Eileen comments: “I believe God was preparing me through each experience for ordained ministry.”

Whilst living in a village in South Oxfordshire and worshipping at the Anglican church of

All Saints in North Moreton, Eileen started to explore her vocation.

Eileen undertook her theological training at Ridley Hall. She will serve her curacy at

Tenterden and Smallhythe.

Craig Hunt

It was whilst studying at university that Craig Hunt became a Christian. After graduating he worked for two years with young people in inner city London on the Peckham Urban Mission Placement Scheme. At a friend’s ordination service in Durham, Craig heard God’s call to ordained ministry.

Married to Becky, Craig enjoys good wine and coffee, gardening and playing football. He will serve his curacy at St Mary Bredin in Canterbury. Craig commented: “I am really looking forward to getting to know a new community of people and to continue to grow in my giftings and follow God’s call on my life.”

Ben Jones

Ben Jones, 33, a qualified RE teacher, has spent much of his life working as Director of Music at St Mary Bredin Church in Canterbury, where he also worked as a student and youth worker.

Passionate about social justice and making the church relevant, Ben described his calling: “I feel called to help the local church regain its place in the centre of its community, providing for the needs of that community and bringing the life and light of Christ there.”

Married to Victoria, Ben will serve his curacy at St John the Baptist in Folkestone.

Chris Pickles

After a first degree in Politics, which ‘left him with an insatiable appetite for political biographies’, Chris Pickles, 26,  worked on placements with inner-city redevelopment agencies in Tennessee, before becoming a pastoral assistant for a church in Cambridge.

Chris’s call to ordained ministry started whilst he was a teenager and he describes the journey to ordination as ‘exciting, challenging and thoroughly blessed.’

Whilst studying at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Chris met his wife, Julia, who is the curate in Bridge. Chris is looking forward to serving his curacy at the City Centre Parishes and

St Dunstan’s in Canterbury, he commented: “I feel incredibly excited and blessed to be called to serve God and his people in Canterbury.”

Alan Pinnegar

Alan Pinnegar, who has worked on the commercial side of the electronics industry since 1986, first got involved with leading worship 10 years ago after attending an Authorised Lay Minister course in Canterbury Diocese. Two years later, Alan started to explore his vocation but pressures of a daily 90 mile commute meant that Alan, pushed ‘to one side’ his calling to ordained ministry.

After a change in job, Alan underwent a discernment process to start training as a self- supporting minister. Frustration at not being able to devote sufficient time to ministry led to Alan switching training for stipendiary ministry.

Alan, a lifelong Charlton Athletic supporter, is married with three grown-up children. He is looking forward to serving his curacy at Bearsted with Thurnham: “My passion is for the church to go out into the community and to demonstrate God’s love by the actions of its members” he said.

Nick Ratcliffe

Nick Ratcliffe, 51, a former farmer who more recently worked in the pest control industry, became a Christian after attending an Alpha course in 1995.

Nick says: “I have always been interested in making Christianity relevant to the ordinary un-churched person and as I worked in the church, I gradually felt the call to become a leader of a community of believers.”

Married to Heather, with five daughters and one grandson, Nick says that as well enjoying making people laugh, he likes making marmalade and walking the dog.

Nick will serve his curacy as a self-supporting minister at Chartham and the Stone Street Benefice. Nick commented: “I am looking forward to putting training into practice, serving the congregation and getting involved with the community.”

Fourteen Deacons to be Ordained Priest

On the afternoon of Saturday 30 June, Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, will ordain as priests, eight deacons who have served one year of their curacy, at a service at 5pm in Canterbury Cathedral.

Joyce Addison – who will continue to serve her curacy as a stipendiary priest at St Martin’s Maidstone

Julie Coleman – who will continue to serve her curacy as a stipendiary priest at Aylesham, Adisham and Nonington

Phil Greig – who will continue to serve his curacy as a stipendiary priest at Chartham St Mary’s

Alice Pettit – who will continue to serve her curacy as a stipendiary priest with the benefice of Teynham, the benefice of Doddington, Newnham and Wychling, the benefice of Norton, and the parish of Oare and Luddenham within the benefice of The Brents and Davington.

Julie Khovacs – who will continue to serve her curacy as a stipendiary priest, Ashford St Mary

Phil Sheldrake – who will continue to serve his curacy as a stipendiary priest at St Faith’s, Maidstone

Susan Starkings – who will continue to serve her curacy as self-supporting minister at the G7 Benefice, Ashford


Further Information from: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, 07876 210 446


Notes for Editors

Photographs of the new curates are available and photographs from the service of ordination will be available week beginning June 25th.