Captain Stephen Plumb, Self-Supporting Curate at The Six, Sittingbourne
With no previous experience of church, I became a Christian age 24, partly through the ministry of a Church Army Evangelist. Three years later I myself was training with the Church Army. Just last week I celebrated 25 years of evangelistic ministry with Church Army.
Before training with the Church Army, I was trained and worked as a Highways technician with various Local authorities including KCC.
As a Church Army evangelist I have ministered in five different Dioceses, primarily involved in church planting and Fresh Expressions of Church.
I have been living and ministering in Iwade in the Sittingbourne Deanery for five years. The ministry has been focused on community engagement and involvement and the establishing of a new worshiping community at All Saints Iwade. I believe the role of Deacon is affirming what ‘already is’ and is a very positive sign to me personally, to the church at Iwade and the wider community of the Dioceses, and more importantly God’s favour. It will also open new opportunities for mission.
I am passionate that people experience the Kingdom of God. My hobbies include MG cars, gardening, running, cycling and food!
Stephen is being ordained deacon the same that his son, Stuart is being ordained priest at St Paul’s Richmond.
Chris Denyer, Deacon at Bethersden with High Halden and Woodchurch
One day I was taking a class of children into the local church for an Easter service when I suddenly saw the whole church filled with a bright light, everyone faded away and I heard a voice clearly tell me that I was to “work here”… it took a few years to unpick this surreal experience! I wasn’t yet a regular church goer, although I had dipped in and out at various points in my life – it was as if I was told to go and be an astronaut! With my confirmation came affirmation from others and in reading scripture that I had a calling to serve others in ministry.
I have been a primary school teacher since 2002, teaching children from Early Years to Key Stage 2 at a large village Church of England Primary School near Ashford for eleven years. During my training I have been a supply teacher in primary schools in the Maidstone and Ashford areas.
I have a passion for drama and storytelling: I particularly look forward to supporting the work in my new parishes of sharing the Bible in our village schools through dramatisation. I like people’s individual stories too: there are the stories about people I write as an amateur novelist, the stories to be uncovered between the lines in genealogy, and as a deacon I look forward to hearing and being a part of the stories of the community, whether they are of pain or joy.
In addition to my interests in drama, writing and genealogy (described above), I dabble in the acoustic guitar and have a rather obsessional devotion to The Beatles.
I have a Labrador, Lola, who takes me on long walks in the countryside and along – where I love to be most of all – the beach.
I am a dad to four children: Josh, 11; Robin, 10; Annabelle, 6; Harry, 3.
Mark Pavey, Stipendiary Deacon at Maidstone, St Paul’s Maidstone
It is difficult to pin point the first moment I felt called to be ordained in the Church of England. Certainly I was not the first to identify the possibility of a calling, the voices of family and friends resounded loudest in my consciousness and lead me to deep prayer and reflection into whether or not their words could be from God or not. What I can identify standing at this point now, is that very often I was moved into areas of service within the church through a succession of circumstantial events which, looking back, appear to have been moving me towards this line of ministry.
I certainly had a deep conviction early on in my faith that I wanted to serve God in whatever capacity he would desire me to and I laid that conviction at his feet to do with as he willed. It led me into youth work with the church, to schools work and eventually to chaplaincy in a Secure Training Centre working with young offenders for four years. In each of these roles, I found that my passion for each person to know Jesus, and understand his saving works, intensified. I felt a deep yearning for people to be released from the bonds of oppression of the brokenness of their worlds of past hurts and circumstances that had been restricting them from walking in the freedom that God has for them. Over time, this developed into an ever increasing sense of vocation in the Church of England. This needed to be tested though, and I am deeply grateful for the Church of England’s discernment process that has led me to where I am today. For, despite the challenges this process and life generally has presented, I always had a sense of peace that I was in the right place. By no means has it been an easy process but the early sense I felt in serving God in this way has only increased throughout the last few years on this journey of discovery.
As a husband to an incredibly supportive wife, who incidentally felt the sense of our calling long before me, and father to two beautiful daughters, this journey has been one which we have all travelled together. It was immensely important to know that this is a direction in which all of us are moving as part of my own discernment process, and clearly it is one which we have all walked together.
I am genuinely excited about the prospect of serving as Deacon over the next year and as priest in the years ahead of that. During my time at Trinity College, I met some of the most amazingly faithful, fun and genuine people I know, and I am so enthused to witness how God ministers through each of them in the future. If these people are anything to go by, it is an exciting time for the Church of England in the years ahead.
Peter Newell, Self-Supporting Curate at St Mary’s Kennington, Ashford
My first sense of calling to ministry came when I was a music student over thirty years ago. Although I have spent the intervening years working in church music, I have always believed that the day would come when God would call me into the ordained ministry. About ten years ago, when I was teaching religious studies in school, God opened my eyes to His plan for me and it became clear that He was calling me to change my life and move into ministry. I then entered the process of discernment to test this vocation.
I have spent over thirty years in education, teaching in a variety of schools. I have taught music to pupils from the age of three to eighteen. About twelve years ago I was asked to teach Religious Studies GCSE. This led me to explore the beliefs of different world religions, which in turn caused me to examine afresh what I believed myself.
I am looking forward to learning more about Jesus and growing closer to him. Having spent many years working with young people as a teacher, I am looking forward to moving out of the micro-society found in schools, into the wider society. I am looking forward to coming alongside people at all stages of life. I am looking forward to working with the people of Kennington in sharing the joy and the excitement in the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
I think it is so sad that an increasing number of people in western societies like ours have lost touch with God. Each generation has less basic knowledge of Jesus and the love and joy that he brings. They are struggling to find anything to give meaning to their lives. I believe it is vital and our duty as Christians to carry the message to them, to seek ways to help them be open to the workings of God and his Holy Spirit.
I am married to Alison and this year we celebrate twenty-five happy years. I enjoy walking, doing basic jobs in the garden (I am no expert) and am a transport enthusiast particularly interested in buses and trains.
Paulette Stubbings, Stipendiary curate at Boughton under Blean with Dunkirk and Hernhill
I was happily occupied with family, involvement in my local church and working with my photographer husband, so the call to ordination was a bit of a curve-ball. I’d been leading various things in church for several years when I began to feel a strong sense of God stirring something up in me, as if in readiness for something. Around the same time, a number of people independently suggested I consider ordination – but I wasn’t very ready to hear that the two might be connected!
After attending a Diocesan Vocations day – really with the aim of knocking the idea on the head once and for all – I found myself instead tentatively accepting that perhaps God was calling me to serve in this way.
I spent several years in employment as an HR professional, for a pensions company and for Canterbury Christ Church University. While the children were small, I was a stay-at-home mum, a pre-school nursery assistant, and ran my own business as a face-painter at parties and events. I left the nursery work to support my husband in his photography business.
Finding out what God is doing in Boughton-Under-Blean with Dunkirk, Hernhill and Graveney, joining in with it by serving the community and church family there as best I can, and learning, learning, learning.
I love it when opportunities arise for Church and community to work together, and to help people connect with God and one another in the highs, the lows and the every-day of life.
My favourite things are spending time with my husband and two daughters, catching up with friends, beachcombing, family walks, cooking and craft, reading, films and convoluted Scandinavian TV Dramas.
Steven Sivyer, Stipendiary Curate at Marden
Steven sensed a calling towards ordination since he was confirmed at the age of fourteen. Although he explored this calling in his early twenties, he was encouraged to gain further life experience then return. It took Steven some time to return as, in the meantime, he was being affirmed in both his educational and musical work.
Steven is a professional musician, having studied for his degree at the Royal College of Music. Steven plays the organ and piano, conducts choirs and composes music, mainly for church and cathedral settings. In addition to freelance playing across Europe, Steven has spent most of his life ministering through music in local parishes and deputising in cathedrals. Most recently, Steven was the Director of Music at Faversham Parish Church from 2000 until his training for ordination in 2012. It was here where Regent Records released a CD titled ‘Built to Inspire’ of Steven playing the organ.
Steven has also worked in education. He is a former Head teacher and, up to his ordination, has led a team of advisors for Medway Council. Steven recently completed a PhD in education where he researched how school leaders could most effectively create the conditions for good behaviour.
As a deacon, Steven will serve and immerse himself in the community of Marden. He is looking forward to serving both those who attend church and those who do not. Steven and his wife, Emma, love to entertain and have always operated an open house; they look forward to continuing this form of ministry in Marden. They also have two children, aged eight and two.
Steven is passionate about good teaching, and hopes to use his skills in this area in his ministry. He is also interested in the arts, politics, psychology and sport. When he has the time, Steven likes to play golf, and he even enjoys the occasional shot when it goes well.