The following will be ordained as Deacon by The Bishop of Dover, The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, at 11am on Saturday 1 July 2017 at Canterbury Cathedral.
Giles Bartleman, Assistant Curate at Jersey, St Mark
Jack Bateson, Assistant Curate in the benefice of G7
I was brought up in a secular household and didn’t come to faith until my mid-20s. After becoming a Christian I became part of the worshiping community in Canterbury Cathedral. Eager to learn more about God and the Bible, I went from there to Trinity College, Bristol as an independent student. It was here I met my wife, who was training for ordination, and we moved to Bournemouth for her curacy.
In Bournemouth I resumed my work in IT and began to explore ordination myself, but the answer was a firm ‘no’. Or so I thought. It was actually a ‘not yet’, and whilst my wife was serving as an Army Chaplain in Germany others prompted me to explore again. After numerous house moves we ended up in Faversham, and from there I have attended St Augustine’s college as well as continuing as a primary carer for our son John.
I am looking forward to embarking on my curacy and the next stage of the journey. I am especially excited to be sharing this next stage with the people of Charing, Charing Heath, Egerton, Hothfield, Little Chart, Pluckley and Westwell. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to learn in such a varied group of churches.
I enjoy walking, motorcycling and playing trains (large and small).
Vicky Coneys, Assistant Curate in The Wantsum Group
I first attended a Christian vocation event forty years ago, so I have been aware of a sense of God’s call for a long time! For many years I’ve responded to that sense by serving in the local church as a worship leader, clergy spouse and member of the Ministry Leadership Team.
More recently, I felt drawn and was encouraged to lay some areas of ministry aside and step out in new ways, for example in preaching, leading services,and helping set up Street Pastors prayer teams in the town. With these new ways of service came a renewed desire to explore the directions in which God’s call was now taking me. That is what has led me to this point, and will, I trust, continue to lead me on.
I think that, for me, vocation is a lot to do with listening to others, being open and available to God, and taking small steps of faith. I’m going to be Assistant Curate in the Wantsum Group of four churches in rural Thanet. For a beach lover it’s perfect since there are not one but two coasts to enjoy! I am looking forward to sharing the journey and being part of discerning God’s wider call to his people there.
Pru Dulley, Assistant Curate at Hythe
I grew up in a Christian family where my father was a vicar in a parish in Rutland. Christianity was central to all our lives.
My first vocation was in nursing which I felt very much was a gift that God had given to me. I trained in both adult and paediatric nursing although primarily worked in paediatrics. Unfortunately, a significant back injury ended this for me and left me struggling to come to terms with a loss of mobility and the loss of a vocation that I loved.
Looking back, I can see that it was was during this long recovery period that God first started gently nudging me towards thinking about ordination. At the time it seemed ludicrous, yet a series of unexpected conversations over a number of years helped to drive the message home and finally accept that God really was calling me into ministry.
I am very excited about my curacy in Hythe and and the opportunities that it may bring to share the wonder of God’s love and grace with others. I believe passionately in inclusivity and in building a church that is indescriminately welcoming and inclusive of all.
I am new to Kent so I am also looking forward to getting to know and exploring this beautiful area too.
Helen Gunton, Assistant Curate at Jersey, St Ouen
I think I always knew God wanted me to serve him in the church, but I never expected it to be as an ordained minister. I grew into my faith from childhood and as a teenager it became a central part of who I am: other than a brief crisis of faith in my early twenties, I have always been involved in church in one way or another. After training as a primary school teacher, marrying, moving to Jersey and having children, I felt the stirrings of God calling me to serve him in a more formal way and became a Reader. I never considered ordained ministry at that point as I’d only ever attended churches led by men! As a Reader, I was involved in preaching and teaching but continued to feel I wasn’t quite in the right space so I went on placement to work with Jersey’s first female rector. Even then it took a few years to realise God was actually calling me into full time ordained ministry. My husband and children have been a huge support during the discernment and training process: together we’ve learned that God has plans for each one of us in his church – whatever our stage of life or family circumstances may be.
I am really excited to be moving to work on the other side of the island with the St Ouen’s and St George’s community. My passion is for people of all ages and stages to know the depth of God’s love and for them to experience healing and wholeness through relationship with Jesus.
David Hazell, Assistant Curate at Herne Bay, Christchurch
It has been almost 10 years since God called me to pursue ordination in the Anglican Church. Whilst the journey hasn’t been straightforward, He has been faithful and with me all the way. If you are reading this and do not personally know Jesus, try an Alpha or Christianity Explored course – you will not regret it.
I sensed a call to ministry when I became a Christian in High School through the community engagement of a local non-denominational church. Consequently, I went to study theology at Bangor University. Whilst there, God made it clear during prayer that this ministry was to be as an ordained member of the Anglican Church. I wasn’t expecting this so I spent some time weighing the call, during which I studied for a Masters in Biblical Studies at Durham, worked as a Ministry Apprentice in Stafford, and briefly as a verger at Litchfield Cathedral. After which, I went to train for the ministry in Oxford, where I have been for the past five years. During this time I’ve thoroughly enjoyed continuing to study theology, including beginning a doctorate, and have also been involved with the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.
I’m passionate about Jesus, seeing people come to faith in Him, and learning more about life in Him through studying the Bible and theology. I’m thoroughly looking forward to serving Christ and His Church in Herne Bay.
Barry Knott, Assistant Curate at Allington, St Nicholas with Maidstone, St Peter and Maidstone, St Andrew Barming Heath
Coming from a large non-Christian family, it was most unusual that I took myself off to church at the age of eight. When I look back over my life, I can see in this initial interest how early my calling was. Like many young people, I fell away from the church in my teens only coming back earnestly when I came to get married. Not unlike many others I quickly found myself in that comfortable position of being there but not overly committing to anything. Then, I did something I never expected to do; I became involved with the youth group. I didn’t like teenagers when I was one; was this the right thing for me? I did it, however, because I felt that I should, rather than because I wanted to. This was my first step of obedience and the rewards were and still are immeasurable.
Next, I was asked to help lead a Fresh Expression church plant in our village. What a terrible idea, I thought, as I found myself agreeing. An even bigger step of obedience that, despite hard work, resulted in one blessing after another. The challenges experienced by both me and the team brought about much personal change and spiritual growth. Regardless of this, I felt I needed some legitimacy for my church leadership as I was without any formal training. It was suggested that I considered Pioneer Ministry as this would develop the skills I needed. Before I knew it, I was on the road of discernment.
I was happy in my job as a police officer in Kent with dreams of a leisurely retirement cruising the inland waterways at four miles an hour or fly-fishing – my two favoured pastimes. God had other ideas, and I found myself shifting from ideas of part-time self-supporting ministry to early retirement and taking up a full-time stipend working a six-day week ‘til I am seventy.
I live in Maidstone with my wife Sarah and teenage daughter Katy. I was placed at Allington and Barming Heath during my training and we are all delighted that I am will be staying as their curate. It is an ideal benefice for training with so much varied activity and worship.
Jo Purle, Assistant Curate at Folkestone, St John the Baptist
I undertook my ordination training at Trinity Theological College in Bristol; an incredibly rich and vibrant community of faith with outstanding teaching and opportunities to learn and grow in a fantastic evangelical, charismatic context.
My journey to ordained ministry in the Church of England has been quite an adventure. I explored my vocation as part of St. Mary Bredin, Canterbury which was my home church for many years, sensing the Lord’s call which became clearer and stronger over time. Before ordination training, I worked as a qualified nurse in Renal Dialysis at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital. Also, I spent 6 years as a missionary in Mbale, Uganda with a Christian charity ministering in slum areas and Uganda is still a nation very close to my heart.
I feel thrilled to be serving my curacy at St. John’s, Folkestone and I have a growing expectancy of what the Lord has in store for the church and the wider community. I’m a keen runner, hill walker and I love the beach so I’m sure my new home will provide plenty of opportunities to meet with God in the great outdoors and seek His heart for Folkestone.
Sean Sheffield, Assistant Curate at Dover Town
I grew up in a family for which the Christian faith or church held little relevance or importance. My father was in the Royal Navy for much of my childhood so aside from the usual annual forays to Christmas services, or family weddings, church and Jesus were distant and unfamiliar to me. By 2009, I felt I had reached what I believed was the pinnacle of my life’s achievement, in the world’s terms, yet despite this my life was feeling pretty empty and bleak. In September of that year my wife, Ruth, announced to me that we were going on an Alpha course. I reluctantly agreed, but reckoned I could at least cause a bit of trouble by asking awkward questions and generally being difficult. God however, had other ideas and I met Jesus in a really powerful way!
Through the course and the church, God revealed himself to me and I learned first-hand of his love, his forgiveness, his mercy and his grace. I realised immediately that this wasn’t something that I could keep to myself and that I had to share this with others, with everyone.
My focus at work became very different; as a call centre manager of nearly 15 years at that point, I realised that I had the great privilege and opportunity to help shape people’s lives, to offer something to individuals and to the community and to help people reach their potential and flourish. Alongside this I became heavily involved in things at church; helping with Alpha, Street Pastors, small groups and men’s ministry. However, despite this, and work fulfilling me in new ways, I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied in business and it felt that there was something else God was calling me to, and wanted me to explore.
I met with our Vicar who asked me what it was I felt God was calling me to. Without even pausing for a breath the words “ordained ministry….” tumbled out. That kickstarted the journey of exploration of both self, of faith and of God, that I found myself on. A journey leading up to ordination training, a journey in which God has challenged me in many ways to prepare me; personal challenges, spiritual challenges and work challenges, all of which have helped shaped me for the future. These helped me to see that God really was calling me to ordained ministry.
Through this journey God has continued to reveal himself to me in many ways, and Ruth and I have been blessed with two wonderful children, Noah and Phoebe. Not thinking two energetic young children are enough of a challenge, we recently added a Dalmatian pup, Angel, to the mix, so I can now often be found being dragged around the Kent countryside by a boisterous spotty dog.
I’m greatly looking forward to getting stuck in with the Dover Town team and the church and surrounding communities as their new Assistant Curate. I believe God wants me to show those I meet that he isn’t some made up, wishy washy thing that has a stack of rules and no relevance for them. He is the pivotal part of a joyful and abundant life, an amazing source of unconditional love, strength, hope and fulfilment.
Chris Watson Lee, Assistant Curate at Loose