The following will be ordained as Deacon by The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, at 11am on Saturday 29 June 2019 at Canterbury Cathedral.
Bev Herve, Sainte Marie du Castel and St Matthew Cobo
I now live in Guernsey, with my husband Pierre, but I was born and brought up in a small village in Dorset. As a child I regularly attended Sunday school but it was not until 2008 that I came to faith and became aware of the presence of God in my life.
Initially feeling called to Lay Ministry, I trained and was licensed as a Licensed Lay Minister. However, I became increasingly aware that I was being called to Ordained Ministry.
I have had a long career in nursing, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, working in both hospital and community settings, and also in nurse education, training and development. As I reflect back over my career, I recognize that God has been preparing me for ordained ministry all of my life. I just wasn’t aware of it!
I trained at St Augustine’s Theology College and have found the course both transformative and inspiring. I feel very blessed to be serving my title at St Marie du Castel and St Matthew’s Cobo. It is with excitement that I embark on the next stage of my journey and discover what God has in store for me.
Bruce Watson, Kingsnorth and Shadoxhurst Benefice
Bruce Watson was born on a Friday – a Good Friday in fact. He first went to church on Easter Sunday and has been going ever since. Aged 10, he and his best friend both chose to follow Jesus for themselves – at different summer camps. They told each other immediately and have both been telling other people ever since.
After some very unremarkable A levels, Bruce went to Wolverhampton to study European Studies with French (which he now speaks with a very strange accent). Aged 20, he worked in France for a year in a secondary school and knew that he’d become a teacher. That year he also went on a three-month mission trip to Pakistan which proved to be a pivotal experience.
Bruce then taught French in a Walsall Comprehensive although he will be remembered more for coaching a very successful Under 12 football team. In 1994 he moved to teach French & PE at Murree Christian School, Pakistan. He fell in love with the Science teacher and married Jacqui in 1997. They returned to England in 1998 and settled in Deal where Jacqui had found a job. Their children, Sam & Freya, were both born in Canterbury.
They have both taught locally ever since although Bruce was made redundant in 2013 when his school was closed. However, he had already explored ordination and shortly after that he was accepted for training at St Mellitus College, London. If he has any spare time Bruce can be found watching football (QPR) or cricket (Kent). He and Sam play hockey for Deal in a Kent League but not in the same team. He drinks coffee, red wine and real ale – all in moderation.
Michael Darkins, The Wantsum Benefice
I think my faith journey really began when I was 11 when I was suddenly struck by an insatiable desire to start going to church. Although I had been to the occasional service before, I had never been taken on a regular basis. So my brother and I started going to church and, not too long afterwards, we were asked if we wanted to serve at the 8am BCP services. I jumped at this opportunity as I had always been fascinated by what the priest did during the service, particularly behind the altar, and serving presented me with the chance to see exactly what the priest was doing during the Eucharist. This early fascination with the Eucharist was the beginning of God’s call to me, a fact I only later realised when my mother asked if I had ever considered being a priest. Initially I laughed at the idea, but over the following weeks and months this idea did not go away but only grew.
It was during my time at university that I came to accept that God was calling me to ordained ministry. From the day I moved in I was involved with the chaplaincy and I simply loved it. Generally, if I wasn’t working on my degree, I was in the Chapel.
After university I spent a year working as a Pastoral Assistant in a Church in Westminster. This was a hugely beneficial experience for me as it enabled me to experience the day-to-day life of a priest and how a church runs.
Following this year, I began my ordination training at Westcott House in Cambridge, where I have been studying for the past three years.
Outside of Church, my interests include writing, miniature modelling, and Dungeons and Dragons.
Jacky Darling, Lydd Benefice
My journey towards ordination began some 33 years ago and has involved the ‘ups and downs’ of life which I recognise have formed me into the person I am today. However, through every step of the way I have known that God is with me, sometimes walking side by side and sometimes being carried in the palm of His hands, which is why the poem “Footprints” is very special me. The journey all began when I was an active member of a church in Croydon. The more I got involved the sense of calling to ‘something’ became stronger. I was encouraged to train as a Southwark Pastoral Auxiliary (SPA) and after two years training was authorised by the Bishop of Southwark in 1988. I went on to study for a degree in Theology and Religious Studies which I received on my 40th birthday! It never ceases to amaze me how God works in our lives. I left school at 15 with no qualifications and am a great believer in life long learning.
I explored my calling to ordained ministry and in 1996 was sent to a selection conference but was not recommended at that time. Picking myself up, by the grace of God, I went on to train as a Religious Studies teacher and had a successful career in teaching, including being Head of Religious Studies in a Church of England Secondary School, and retiring as Headteacher of a Church of England Primary School in 2012. However, the calling to ordained ministry never left me.
In 2013 my husband, Bill, and I moved to New Romney where my calling became even stronger and could no longer be ignored. I met with my incumbent, Revd Julie Coleman, who sent me on an “Explore More” course led by the Director of Ordinands (DDO), Revd Joss Walker. I would highly recommend the course. I confess that I felt apprehensive about going forward again, however, wanting to be obedient to God’s calling I put my trust in Him and went forward. I attended a Bishops Advisory Panel ( “BAP”) in June 2017 and on the 29th June received a phone call from the DDO to inform me that the answer was “Yes!” I cried, with joy!
I started training with St Augustine’s Theological College in September 2017. I have had the privilege to train alongside people from different dioceses, church traditions and have experienced a wide variety of styles of worship which I have greatly valued, including the fantastically supportive staff at St Augustine’s.
I believe we are all called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in the world through our actions sharing the knowledge that we are all God’s Beloved Children and loved by God unconditionally. As I kneel to be ordained on the 29th June it will be because of the Grace of God as I continue to put my hand into His and step out into the world to serve Him as an ordained minister.
I am looking forward to serving my Curacy with Revd Chris Maclean and everyone in the Lydd Benefice.
John Huffman, Holy Trinity, Margate
I am an American expatriate who was brought up in the Christian Faith as a member of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. It was as an altar server at St Joseph Church in Pittsburgh that I first experienced the nudge toward ministry, though it took me another fourteen years to understand exactly how that would play out. I moved to Whitstable on the south coast of England in 2011 with my wife and received indefinite leave to remain in 2013.
I have recently relocated to Thanet for my curacy and finished up training at St. Augustine’s College of Theology. In addition to my shiny new Theology qualification, I achieved an M.S. with distinction in Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. In the past thirteen years since initially leaving university I have served as a teacher of reception-age students, a master baker, a kitchen manager, and a property inspector for a large housing association. This diverse background has given me a lot of gifts that will come in handy serving my curacy in a large (and busy) church.
I am a songwriter and musician playing out regularly in a band, a husband of nine years, a vegetarian, fan of cats and dogs, an avid hiker and all around fan of the outdoors, and most certainly a lover of all the things Christ calls me to do.
Lesley Hardy, Eastry and Woodnesborough Benefice
I was probably six or seven, sitting under a tree in a churchyard, when I first really understood that God was always going to be close to me. Since then I have tried to hold together both my love of God and my fondness for churchyards, churches and indeed all things ancient and lovely! I work in history and heritage at a local University and I have spent the last fifteen years working in community archaeology and trying to share both the excitement of the past and a sense of the sacred in place and time.
I am married and have five children and a very understanding husband who all tolerate my need to trail around museums and churches on holiday.
In my spare time to relax I walk and watch South Korean Historical drama (not at the same time of course) . I also read and re- read some favourite novelists and distract myself with Roman Detective Fiction but have also been known to pick up ‘clergy noir’
Simeon Nevell, The Six
My wife Charlie and I have been together since we met as teenagers in school. Last year we were blessed by the birth of our son Nathan.
I came to faith as a young teenager, seeing up close the lived out faith of a group of Christians in Tenterden. My faith deepened over the next few years and times spent at Soul Survivor then later Momentum were formational for me. It was at this point that I first felt God’s call to ordination.
I studied science at York university and then went onto become a primary teacher. I left that to become a farm manager near Canterbury which gave me time to focus on the discernment process.
For the last two years I have been training at Cranmer Hall in Durham, which has been both a stretching and a blessed time. I am looking forward to starting this next chapter of our lives serving at The Six.
Stephen O’Connor, Walmer & Cornilo Benefice
Details coming soon