The following will be ordained as Deacon by The Bishop of Dover, The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, at 11am on Saturday 2 July 2016 at Canterbury Cathedral.
Listen to Aptin Samadi and Stephen Carter talk about hearing The Call.
Cathie Aldis, Assistant Curate in Ashford Town benefice
“I was brought up in a Christian family and first sensed God stirring something within me when I was a teenager. Not until a number of years later did I realise that this was a call to ordained ministry. I sat in church listening to a sermon in which the Vicar spoke about a ‘reluctant ordinand’. To begin with I thought he was speaking about himself, but I became aware of God reminding me of the stirring I had first sensed as a teenager. I went to work the next day and over a cup of coffee, a colleague asked me why I had never considered ordination! I knew I could not leave this on the back-burner any longer; friends and members of the congregation were also encouraging me to pursue God’s calling in a new chapter of my life.
“My career to date had been in education, called to live out my faith in the workplace. This included being a teacher in Dorset and Kent; Headteacher of a church primary school and most recently, a Senior Education Adviser for Leadership with Kent County Council. Alongside my involvement with schools, I have also followed my other passion, music. For eleven years I conducted Kent County Junior Choir and taught flute in my spare time.
“I am genuinely excited about finding out what God is doing in Great Chart and Singleton and working with the church in the community as we draw alongside people of all ages and stages of life, sharing the love of Jesus and helping children and adults alike connect with God. Over the coming months Singleton will see many more houses being built and this gives us a wonderful opportunity for mission.
“When not working, I can be found in my garden; I especially enjoy organic vegetable growing and have been a member of two horticultural societies. My other enjoyment is cooking, which I find really relaxing.”
Amanda Lane, Assistant Curate in the benefice of The Six
“After 27 years’ ministry as a Reader, for most of which I was clear God wanted me in a lay role, it took a while to get used to the idea that he was asking me to do something new. But once I picked up the message coming at me from so many directions I found myself on this amazing path filled with so many unexpected opportunities to serve his people.
“There was never a time when I wasn’t aware of God just being there for me, although that awareness has changed over time and been stronger at some times than others. He has certainly supported me during the inevitable challenges that life throws at you, and through these I have learned how he holds us in his arms even when we feel at our most broken and unable to see a way forward, then guides and challenges us in sometimes surprising ways. I am passionate for others to know the power of that redeeming, transforming love.
“As a primary school teacher for the past 20 years, I have a passion for enabling children to flourish and learn, in places where they have the security to take risks and build relationships. I have particularly valued working in church schools, and building strong links between church and school; I love leading collective worship. I currently work as a supply teacher, and will continue after ordination.
“I have been married to David for 32 years, and we have three sons, the youngest of whom graduates just days after my ordination. I am passionate about politics and enjoy being outdoors, experiencing God’s glory and generosity in his creation. I also love choral singing, cooking and gardening, although after three years of training our garden is more of a nature reserve than horticultural haven!”
Dawn Watson, Assistant Curate at Margate, St John the Baptist and Margate, All Saints, Westbrook
“I first experienced a sense that God was calling me to ordained ministry through a number of unconnected conversions with friends and with people I worked alongside. For them it seemed to be clear that this was the direction God was leading me, it took me a little longer to get there!
“Before entering training I was a PE and Dance teacher in a secondary school in Dartford, where I worked for 14 years. I loved teaching and had always felt called to that vocation, which may be why it took me a little while to realise and to accept that God was calling me to walk a different path.
“I am passionate about issues of social justice, and I am keen to explore new ways in which we can engage with our local community, finding ways to enable the church to be a beacon of hope within the community.
“I love walking, spending time with friends and family, various crafts and I am an avid reader – particularly of crime friction – there is nothing quite like working out ‘who done it!’.
“I am excited to begin my ministry in Margate and cannot wait to see what God has in store for my ministry.”
Aptin Samadi, Assistant Curate at Margate, St Philip, Northdown Park
“I was born in a Muslim family in the Middle East and started to search for the meaning of life since the age of nine. The question in my mind was “why has God created humans?” Nobody gave me a satisfactory answer but a deep desire was shaped in my heart for knowing God and having a personal relationship with Him. I started to seek God in different religions but none of them could offer me a personal relationship with Him.
“When I totally lost my hope about finding God, a friend told me “if you call Jesus name He will answer you, He is not a dead prophet, He is the living God!” Although it sounded utterly unacceptable to my mind, a new hope came to my heart about finding God and I started reading the Gospel on the same night.
“I became a Christian by reading the Sermon on the Mount and experiencing Jesus’ love, forgiveness and compassion while I was studying Biotechnology in university. From the very first days of my Christian life, I had a sense of calling to ministry and I shared the Gospel with many students and some of them came to faith. Even though working as a scientist was my biggest dream since childhood, the urgency of serving the kingdom of God and reaching out for the lost overcame all my plans and desires. I started my ministry in the Middle East by evangelism and church planting since 2004 and was called to ministry in Church of England in 2010 after attending a retirement celebration service for a very fruitful Anglican vicar. After few years of exploring my vocation, I was finally convinced that God was calling me to a new ministry in a new church.
“I am passionate to see God’s transforming work in England and looking forward to serve this nation together with my wife and two daughters.”
Melissa Carter, Assistant Curate in Bearsted with Thurnham
“I currently live in Bearsted with my husband of 9 years, my guide dog Zoe and retired guide dog Olivia. From a young age I felt God’s presence with me but only really started to understand who God was and what sort of relationship I could have with him during my pre-teens when I started to regularly attend church. Over the years I have enjoyed being part of choirs, music groups and later on being a server. I am grateful for having been able to worship with some lovely congregations who have shown me what it is to be a part of God’s family.
“I first felt God’s call to ordination at the age of 17 but have spent time growing in my faith and growing in confidence as a person – my family and friends have given me immense support as I have followed my call. For the past 13 years I have worked at a conveyancing firm where I was able to support people going through the stresses and strains of the house moving process. Alongside my work I have been involved in church and charity work, helping to raise funds and awareness of the work of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and British Blind Sport, especially with Visually Impaired Archery in which I was thrilled to have represented Great Britain.
“I pray that in my future ministry I can help people discover their own relationship with God so they can recognise the beauty of character that God sees in them. I look forward to walking alongside people as they find their own special place within God’s creation and encourage them to flourish with the nourishment of God’s love, grace, joy and peace.”
Stephen Carter, Assistant Curate at Canterbury, St Mary Bredin
“I still remember that gut-wrenching feeling. I was 13 years old when a girl told me that I should be a preacher. Though my mouth informed her she was wrong I knew she was probably right.
“Nurtured in church youth groups and a supportive family, and with plenty of opportunity to share my faith at school and with friends, I continually felt God calling me out to serve his people to make Christ known. At 17 I knew in good conscience that I wasn’t supposed to pursue the medical career I’d imagined. Instead I took a gap year to begin discerning God’s will for my life.
“That year with ‘Kurios’, the YFC rock band took me around the UK, sharing my faith and bass lines in schools, pubs, churches and festivals. At that point the only thing I was interested in studying was theology, leading me to London School of Theology whilst worshipping with St. Andrew’s Chorleywood. These were ‘green house’ years for me–studying scripture, making lifelong friends (including my wife Tiffany!) and experiencing local and global mission. By the end of these years I knew that God was calling me to serve his Church, a call confirmed by those around me, but a call signal set to ‘amber.’
“During this waiting God led me into Secondary RE teaching, training in Cambridge before taking a post in Dunstable. I enjoyed my time as a teacher, impacting young people and thriving in a community environment with fantastic colleagues. During this time I began the discernment process through St. Mary’s Luton and following recommendation went to Trinity Bristol.
“I’m thrilled to be here and serving my curacy with SMB. I am seeking the Kingdom of God here in Canterbury, and am awaiting the imminent arrival of our first child.”
Stacey Rand, Assistant Curate at Hackington (Canterbury, St Stephen)
“I first felt called to ordained ministry in my early 20s while I was exploring vocation with a discernment group. It took a while to accept that this was what God was calling me to. Encouraged by a university chaplain, I took the first step in what has been an amazing journey over the past eight years.
“Since 2012, I’ve been working as a researcher in social care policy at the University of Kent. This involves social research (interviews, surveys etc.) with adults who use social care services and their family/friend carers to help improve our understanding of people’s experiences of social care so that we can better measure the quality and effectiveness of services. It’s really rewarding work and it’s great to see when projects have a ‘real life’ impact. It’s been interesting to explore the connection points between theology and my work while training over the last three years.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to work at the university during my curacy and exploring this further.
I live in Canterbury with my husband, Henrik, who is a lecturer in Architecture at the University of Kent, and I’m really excited to be serving my curacy here at St Stephen’s Canterbury.”