Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham to ordain twenty new clergy

A record number of new clergy are to be ordained by the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham on 1st and 2nd July in Southwell Minster. Twenty will be ordained as deacons and priests to serve in parishes spanning the whole diocese, from East Leake in the south to Bawtry in the north.  It is the largest number of stipendiary clergy being ordained in the diocese for over twenty years, including five of those being ordained deacon who are under 30.  They will be serving in churches that incorporate every part of the diocese: city centre, outer urban, market towns, and rural communities.

Bishop Paul says: “I am thrilled to be ordaining so many deacons and priests to serve in churches across the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. It is a wonderful sign of the commitment to see local churches flourishing and growing across the diocese. They are people with diverse gifts, backgrounds and personalities, each one is called by God to dedicate their lives to serve as leaders in the mission of the church. This is such a great encouragement as we seek to grow the church in every community, bringing the hope of Jesus Christ to people of all ages.”

A former psychiatrist and an actor are amongst the 11 deacon candidates to be ordained into the Church of England on Sunday 2nd July at 11am.

Riding Lights actor and deacon candidate, Peter Shaw grew up in West London and is married to Steph, who he met while on tour working as actors with Christian theatre company, Riding Lights. They are moving to Nottingham from High Wycombe where Steph works as a Youth Pastor for St Andrew’s Church and Peter commutes to Wycliffe Hall, Oxford to study.

Peter Shaw

“I became a Christian after an invite to watch the Arsenal vs Barcelona Champions League final at St Paul’s, Ealing church youth club. With all my mates off to Paris to watch the game my next best option was an invite from a youth leader who I got to know through the church-led football group.

“I kept going back to the youth group (mainly to begin with because there were girls!) because I became intrigued by this guy called Jesus, this radical, surprising, unpredictable guy, hanging out with the wrong people, getting up the noses of the bigwigs, and breaking the rules. Just over 10 years later my life has been radically transformed and it would have seemed completely insane that that difficult and unsettled teenager would be training to be a vicar.

“Over the last 10 years I’ve been working as an actor in a plethora of random roles whilst also working as a builder during my ‘rest’ periods. My favourite job was performing and running workshops in schools and prisons with Riding Lights. Prison audiences were always really honest, heckling when they thought it was rubbish and appreciative when they enjoyed it. The workshops would enable and encourage the prisoners to share their stories as a form of restorative justice.

“This was always very humbling as it made me profoundly aware how close I was to one silly mistake or an unfortunate event which would have meant my life would have looked very different.

“My hobbies include fishing, cricket, rugby and, of course, football, although the youth group I now lead would tell you I talk a better game than I play. Steph and I also love cooking together and delight in having people over.”

Peter will be serving his title with the Revd Canon Tim Pullen in the Wollaton benefice and in the wider mission of Nottingham North deanery.

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Deacon candidate Michele Hampson started going to Church in Edinburgh when she was 28, and was baptised the following year.  “You might call me a late-starter!” she says.

Michele Hampson

“After completing my training as a psychiatrist in Newcastle I moved to Nottingham in 1989 to take up a consultant post in adult psychiatry and attended St Andrew’s Church Nottingham. A few years later I had the first inkling that I might be called to the priesthood, which was confirmed by the vicar in 2006. At that stage I was actively involved in mental health policy nationally and first my mother and then my father became ill and died. So it was only after I retired in 2012 and my parents’ house was sold that I felt ready to go forward.  I studied first at St John’s as an independent student and then at Ridley Hall Cambridge, where I am the oldest student.

“My passion continues to be supporting those in and out of church with mental health problems. I am delighted to be part of the Diocese’ mental health strategy group, Opening Minds and the project for churches to have mental health awareness guides. It has taken some time to recognise the need to reflect spiritually and not just think psychologically so I start my curacy in Lenton with this as ‘work in progress.’

Returning home to Nottingham will enable me to look after the garden and I hope to have a little more time for cycling and walking and to spend time with friends who have been very understanding these last two years, whilst I have been a weekly commuter.”

Michele will be serving her title with the Revd Dr Megan Smith in the Lenton Benefice.

The other nine deacon candidates are: Michael Allen, Naeem Bahadur, Anthony Dixon, Simon Fellows, Garreth Frank, Becky Hancock, Karen Hanford, Christopher Lee, and Rachel Mitchell.

MICHAEL ALLEN. Michael is married to Beth and they have two children: Florence (2 ½) and Henry (8 months). Since graduating with a degree in history, Michael has been involved in therapeutic work with adults with learning disabilities and in secure mental health settings. Michael trained for ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and will serve his title with the Revd Tim Parker in the East Leake, West Leake, Stanford-on-Soar, Rempstone and Costock Benefice.

NAEEM BAHADUR. Naeem is married to Rubina and they have two children, Cyrus (5) and Jeremiah (3).  Before they came to the UK, Naeem ministered in Presbyterian church for five years and Rubina worked as a nurse. Naeem trained for ordained ministry at the Queens Foundation, Birmingham. He will be serving his title with the Revd Clive Burrows in the Hyson Green & Forest Fields Benefice.

ANTHONY DIXON. Anthony is married to Amy. Before training Anthony studied politics at the University of York and then went into fundraising, working first as Development Officer at Coventry Cathedral and then as Fundraising Consultant for Fusion UK. Anthony trained for ordained ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge and will serve his title with the Revd Alison Jones in a new Mid-County Resource Church in the Deanery of Newark & Southwell.

SIMON FELLOWS. Simon is from Dover and is married to Julia who is from the Faroe Islands. Prior to training, Simon worked for a number of Christian organisations including Operation Mobilisation, Lee Abbey Christian Fellowship and at a Christian television channel. Most recently Simon worked for a church in West Bromwich before moving to Nottingham to train for Ordination at St. John’s College. He will be serving his title with the Revd Canon Peter Huxtable in the Stapleford Benefice whist also engaging in the wider mission of the deanery in Nottingham North.

GARRETH FRANK. Garreth grew up in rural North Wales, before moving to study History and Politics at the University of York. Between study and training at Cranmer Hall, Durham, Garreth worked as a Student Worker for G2, a Fresh Expression Congregation in York. Garreth is excited about the prospect of serving his title with the Revd Canon Steve Silvester in the Nottingham St Nicholas Benefice.

BECKY HANCOCK.  Becky is married to John, a faculty head in secondary education, and they have two children, Ellie (15) and James (12). As a family, they enjoy walking with their very daft chocolate Labrador, Desmond. Becky spent 22 enjoyable years working for HSBC in various IT Management roles, before training for ministry at St John’s School of Mission, Nottingham.  Becky will serve her title with the Revd Jonathan Strickland in the Bawtry with Austerfield, Misson, Everton & Mattersey Benefice.

KAREN HANFORD Karen is married to David and they have a son, Richard, and daughter-in-law, Rachel.  Karen graduated in Law and in Social Work and worked as a Probation Officer with Nottinghamshire Probation Service and Nottingham City Youth Offending Team.  Latterly much of her time has been spent caring for relatives and working as a volunteer adviser at the Citizens Advice Bureau. Karen explored a call to ministry whilst studying theology at St John’s School of Mission where she then continued her ordination training.  She will serve her title with the Revd Canon Tim Pullen in the Wollaton Benefice.

CHRISTOPHER LEE. Chris is married to Ruth, who works in primary schools delivering outdoor activities. They first met at Spring Harvest and share a love of children’s ministry. Chris has a maths degree and trained as a primary teacher before becoming a children’s worker for a church in York. He trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall in Durham and will be serving his title with the Revd David Pickersgill at St Mary’s with St Leonard’s Newark.

RACHEL MITCHELL.  Rachel’s thirst to learn more led her to study at St. John’s College where she discovered not only the joys of theological studies but also a vocation in the Church of England. She shares this new adventure with husband Sid, and with the support of her family is looking forward to serving her title with the Revd Canon Mark Tanner in the Radcliffe-on-Trent and Shelford Benefice.

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Nine priest candidates are being ordained on Saturday 1st July at 4pm, and include……

Priest candidate Lydia Cartwright is married to Drew, the manager of an outdoor centre and they have three children: Daisy (12), Isaac (10) and Hannah (8).

Lydia Cartwright

She says; “I was only a baby when I first attended ‘vicar school,’ and while my Dad was training at St John’s, Nottingham we lived in Stapleford and attended St Helen’s church.  It is incredible that I have now come full circle, training myself at St John’s and then beginning a curacy at St Helen’s, Stapleford.

“Immediately before ordination I was a stay at home mum with three small children and I loved being involved in toddler ministry, youth work and worship at my local church.  Before that my husband and I worked in Scotland for two years at the ‘Compass Christian Centre’ – a Christian outdoor centre in Glenshee; that was after a stint in the music department at Carlton Television studios in Nottingham and before that I was a customer adviser in a well-known high street bank.

“Life has never been dull, but I don’t think it has ever been quite as exciting as it is right now.  Whatever it is that God calls you to, to know you are in the right place at the right time and playing your part in His unfolding story is an incredible feeling.  It feels as though my whole life has been spent preparing for this.

“It is fair to say that my deacon year has not been quite what I expected, but I really should know by now that God likes surprises!  Immediately after moving into Stapleford, I felt a deep call to a small estate at my end of town.  After a time of prayer walking with others who also felt drawn to the estate, we began to realise that we might be part of the answers to our prayers and on 7th May 2017 we opened a church and community room in an old hairdressers at Montrose Court.

“The dream is that our small team can work together with residents to create a welcoming space where people can meet Jesus.  Our current opening times are Monday and Thursday mornings as a drop in with prayers at 11am, Wednesday morning as a Food Bank and distribution centre and Sunday at 4pm for café style all-age worship.

“I can’t wait to see all that God will do during the rest of my curacy, and the affect that becoming a Priest in this context will have.”

Lydia is serving her title with the Revd Canon Peter Huxtable in the Stapleford Benefice.

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Priest candidate Philip Howson was born in Oxfordshire and has taken a circuitous journey to his ordination.  Inspired by the idea of inner-city mission, he moved from the countryside to London in his late teens and was an evangelist/church worker for three years.

Philip Howson

“I’m not sure what difference I made to London … but it made all the difference to me,” Philip says.  While enjoying a coffee in Covent Garden he was deeply moved by a beggar asking for money. “Homelessness was so in your face in London – I couldn’t really ignore it.”  The germ was planted, and a few years later Philip started working in the field of what would become a career in providing homeless services.

Becoming a vicar was always in the background but didn’t make sense to him for many years. As he developed his career, started a family, and experienced some long-term doubts as to God’s calling, Philip never felt it was the right time to pursue it.

When he moved north with his family, he started working with Sheffield City Council in strategic commissioning and business development. It was during that period he finally explored his calling to ordination.

“I’d had an amazing decade in Sheffield, and learnt so much, but my sense of vocation for the homeless kind of ended, to be replaced by my calling to priesthood.”

Philip is married to Imogen, who writes young adult novels, and they have two daughters, three cats, and one very small dog.

After studying at St John’s in Nottingham, Philip took up his curacy with the Revd Zoe Burton in the Benefice of Ollerton with Boughton, where he also serves the wider rural parishes.

A further seven deacons are being ordained as priests: Tim Chambers, Steven Cotterill, Will Foulger, Jonny Hughes, Amanda Lees, Chris Pearse, and Andrew Stewart.

TIM CHAMBERS.  Tim is married to Clare, a primary teacher who is currently enjoying taking time out of the classroom to pursue a Masters. Tim spent 20 years working in finance, before training for ordained ministry at St Mellitus College in London. He has returned to Nottinghamshire, where he grew up, after a gap of twenty-five years, bringing Clare – a London girl – northwards with him! He is serving his title with the Revd Lee Proudlove in the West Bridgford Benefice, in the church where he was christened as a baby.

STEVEN COTTERILL. Steve is married to Julie, a Lay Fresh Expressions Minister. They have three children Rebekah (27) Matthew (25) and Bethany (17). Steve is a director of an engineering company, which he owns with his son Matthew. He trained at the Lincoln School of Theology, and is serving his title with the Revd Malcolm Lambert in the Annesley with Newstead and Kirkby Woodhouse Benefice.

WILL FOULGER.  Will is married to Vikki, and they have four children – Iris, Jonah, Jesse & Huck. After studying theology, he worked as a secondary school RS teacher in South East London before moving to Durham to train for Ordination at Cranmer Hall.  Will is serving as a pioneer curate with Jonny Hughes at Trinity Church Nottingham, a new city centre resource church.

JONNY HUGHES.  Jonny is married to Amy and they have four young children, Grace (6), Joseph (4), Eden (2) and Anna (2). Alongside his family commitments, Jonny has very much enjoyed spending the last year leading the team at Trinity Church Nottingham with his wife Amy. Trinity has now begun public weekly meetings in what was the Neales Auction House on Mansfield Road.

AMANDA LEES. Amanda graduated from Durham University before joining the Boots Company.  For several years, she was ‘Miss Christmas’, developing Boots gift ranges.  It was there that she met her husband Michael and their collective adventure began, soon joined by Francesca (14), Sebastian (12), Frederick (10) and Roland (7).  Whilst Amanda thoroughly enjoyed her time immersed in the needs of the retail consumer, she felt a deeper draw to serve the needs of God’s Kingdom.  Amanda trained for ministry at St. John’s School of Mission, Nottingham; however, she has not relinquished her links with retail completely and has just completed her MA exploring the theology of the cathedral retail shop.  She is currently serving her title in the United Benefice of Blidworth and Rainworth, with the Revd Hazel Robinson.

CHRIS PEARSE.  Chris is married to Trine and they have two children, Gracie (3) and Joshua (1). Before training Chris was a professional actor/musician and also spent a number of years on staff at St James’, Muswell Hill as the worship minister. Chris trained for ordained ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge and is currently enjoying serving his title with the Revd Canon Tim Pullen in the Wollaton Benefice.

ANDREW STEWART. Andrew is married to Menekse who founded and runs an online community network for designers of Christian gifts. Prior to training, Andrew’s employment had ranged from involvement in the Christian book trade to being part of an organisation providing integrated housing. Andrew explored a call to ministry while at St Jude’s Church, Mapperley, and trained for ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham. He is serving his title with the Revd Chris Hodder in the Wilford Hill Benefice.