Keeping it in the family; mother and son to be ordained at Minster

A mother and son are both being ordained the same weekend this summer – mum Karen Hanford as a Priest and her son, Richard, as a Deacon.

The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams will be ordaining eight as Deacons on Sunday 1st July at 11am and ten as Priests on Saturday 30th June at 4pm in Southwell Minster. Deacon candidate Michael Vyse will be ordained by the Bishop of Beverley, The Right Reverend Glyn Webster, in the Priory church of Our Lady and St. Cuthbert, Worksop on Sunday 1st July at 5pm.

The candidates spend some time away together on retreat in preparation for the weekend and Richard says : “I have been very blessed that both of my parents have nurtured my faith throughout my life and supported my vocation.

“I think it’s wonderful, (and not at all weird!) that I’ll be sharing the ordination retreat with my Mum. God has led us on very different journeys towards ordained ministry and we trained at different colleges so it feels exciting now to be on retreat together and to both serve in our home diocese.”

 His mum is thrilled that Richard is being ordained and, of course, very proud!  She says: “Richard discerned a call to ordained ministry many years before I was recommended for training so I am pleased that his long-held sense of vocation is coming to fruition.

“And it is brilliant that, having left for University in St Andrew’s 10 years ago, he is now coming back to Nottinghamshire and we will be in the same Diocese.”

Richard was born in Nottingham. He studied Theology at the University of St Andrews. He met his wife Rachel when they served together in the Lee Abbey Community in Devon. They then lived and worked in Bristol and Richard trained for Ordination at Trinity College, Bristol. He will serve his title with The Revd Dave Gough at Worksop St Anne & Norton Cuckney Benefice.


An ex-RAF Officer who served in the Falklands and Afghanistan with a commendation in the Queen’s 2015 Birthday Honours List ….and a recording artist who has toured nationally with rock bands are also amongst the Deacon candidates for this year’s ordinations…

 MIKE FORSYTH.  Mike grew up near Bury St Edmunds.  He studied Culinary Arts at the Birmingham College of Food and joined the Royal Air Force in August 2009 as a Logistics Officer.  In August 2012, he was sent to the Falkland Islands to work within the headquarters at Mount Pleasant Airfield.  On return to the UK in February 2013, Mike married Rachel and together they moved to RAF Marham. It was for his role as the pollution response team leader that he received an Air Officer Commanding team commendation in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List 2015.  In July 2014, Mike was sent to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. After successfully completing the redeployment of 904 EAW to the UK, he returned to RAF Marham.  In April 2015, following attendance to a Bishops Advisory Panel, he was recommended by the Bishop to HM Forces to commence training for Ordination in September 2015.  Their daughter, Evie was born in Dec 2015. Throughout his time in the RAF he was actively involved with the Armed Forces Christian Union and the Chaplaincy Churches where he had been based.

“In 2010 I began exploring what I believed to be a word from God prompting me to leave the RAF and train to be a vicar. The ordination service is a big milestone in as much as it is when I publicly promise to serve the church.

“Lots of friends have supported Rachel, Evie and I along the way… and before I even began exploring what vocation or God’s call even meant.  So, it is important to me that as many as are able will be coming, and if not, I know they will be praying for us as we prepare for this next step in God’s plans.

I am excited to see where God leads us. When we came to visit Christ Church Chilwell, we were moved to see signs of God at work in the parish.  It was confirmation that God was in the decision to move us here for curacy.  We believe God has plans for us and I look forward to fulfilling my role, amongst other things: to be expectant and watchful for the signs of God’s presence, as He reveals his kingdom among us.”

Mike trained for ordained ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge and will serve his title with The Revd Andy Tufnell in Chilwell and Inham Nook Benefice.

GEORGE WHITE. Before going to ‘vicar-school’ George spent most of his time playing music, and has recorded and toured with a multitude of different bands and artists in the past. By his mid-teens he was in bands touring around the country, as well as recording live sessions for Radio 1, having music played on national television and supporting artists such as Marina and the Diamonds, Little Comets, Joan of Arc, Ellie Goulding and Wheatus.

“I didn’t grow-up in a religious family but became a Christian later in my teens. When I was nine my mum died of cancer after battling with it for almost two years. I think this probably made me starting asking those bigger questions about life, faith, God etc..”

I started going to church as a teenager when a friend from school (who I was playing in a band with) invited me. At first I went to church with a kind of morbid curiosity. I couldn’t understand why people would want to go to a church in their spare time at all. The difference for me came when I first heard people talk about Jesus. I remember thinking: ‘I don’t know about all the rest of this stuff but if this Jesus is what it’s really about than I have to give it a go!’

“As I started to become a part of the church I found that a lot of my presuppositions were turned upside down. I’d always felt like I needed to be perfect and shiny to go to church but I found that I could be exactly who I was, with all of my strengths and weaknesses, all of my ‘difficult’ questions and regular doubts. I realised that God wasn’t this far-off judgmental dictator but close and present with me in my life.”

George still writes and performs music, now under the moniker ‘Trev’ a name that he took from his late father. He is looking forward to being a part of the team at Trinity Church Nottingham with the Revd Jonny Hughes, where he will have a particular focus on working with students and creatives in the city.


The other Deacon Candidates are:

DAVID BEAN – David trained for ministry at the Lincoln School of Theology and works for Trinity Hospital, a Christian almshouse charity in Retford. David has been married to Margaret for 25 years; they have no children but live with an aged cat called Fred. He will be serving his title as a Distinctive Deacon with The Revd Sue Caddy within All Hallows, Ordsall with St Michael’s & All Angels, West Retford, and Retford town centre mission.

JACK BULL – Jack met her husband Rich at London Bible College in the 1990s and moved to Rich’s native Nottinghamshire in 1998 to become an honorary East-Midlander. They have two teenage sons – Nathan (17) and Joseph (15). Jack and Rich were part of the Trent Vineyard community for 15 years, where Jack worked as Creative Arts/Resource Co-ordinator and also developed theological formation for pastoral staff. Jack will be serving her title with The Revd Matt Roberts in the Woodthorpe Benefice.

DEBORAH HUDGHTON – Deborah spent her teenage years growing up in the Peak District before moving to study Theology at the University of Nottingham. This is where she met her fiancé Mandla and they are looking forward to marrying later this July.  Between university and training for ordination at St Mellitus College, with Barnsbury Parish, Islington, Deborah spent a year as an intern with St Christopher’s, Sneinton. She also worked as a receptionist in QMC for couple of years. Over these few years she was involved in the Church Army’s young adult programme, Xplore. She is excited about serving her title with The Revd Amanda Digman in the Carlton Benefice and the Colwick Benefice.

SIMON JONES – Simon has spent the last 29 years working in the technology sector for organisations such as HSBC, Cable & Wireless and Microsoft, the last three years of which included training part-time for ordained ministry at the Queens Foundation, Birmingham. Simon is married to Helen who works as the Marketing and Communications Officer at The Friary, a Nottingham charity working locally to end homelessness. They have three children Becca (23) Georgie (21) and Matt (18). Simon will be serving his title in the United Benefice of Burton Joyce, Bulcote and Stoke Bardolph with Lowdham, Caythorpe and Gunthorpe.

JAMES MORING – Following an internship with All Hallows, Bow, London James trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.  A former rugby and American football player, he is now an avid follower of most sports and also enjoys seeking out quirky, independent coffee shops either with friends or with a book.   James is passionate about church being assessible for all whether that be in a traditional liturgical setting or contemporary worship, believing that God has far more gifts for His church that we dare to ask for or imagine.  James will be serving his title with the Revd Peter Huxtable in the Nottingham North Deanery.

To be ordained deacon by the Bishop of Beverley, The Right Reverend Glyn Webster, in the Priory church of Our Lady and St. Cuthbert, Worksop on Sunday 1st July at 5pm:-

MICHAEL VYSE. Michael grew up in rural Norfolk and, after a German degree at Leeds, worked for many years in the travel industry. Alongside seasons in Egypt and Dubai, and leading coach tours more locally, he specialised in Switzerland, where was able to pursue his interests in hill-walking, railways and lake steamers, and good food and conversation. He then trained for Ordination at St. Stephen’s House, Oxford and will be serving his Title with The Revd Canon Nicolas Spicer at Worksop Priory of St Mary and St Cuthbert with Carburton Benefice




PRIEST candidate, GARRETH FRANK always wanted to be a vicar. He grew up in rural North West Wales, in a tiny village called Llangwnnadl on the Llyn Peninsula. “According to family, ordination was always a possibility; as a ten year old I once reportedly declared that I wanted to be like my local minister when I grew up.” After studying study History and Politics at York and attending a local café style church called G2, he decided to

spend two years as a student worker with them, before ordination training at Cranmer Hall Durham. Garreth then moved south to be ordained Deacon in Southwell Minster. For nearly a year he’s been serving his curacy at St Nic’s in Nottingham’s city centre under the Revd Canon Steve Silvester.

“Outside of church life, I’ve rekindled my love of drama by joining Beeston Musical Theatre Group, a lovely and talented community of singers, actors and dancers. I recently appeared in a production of Jekyll and Hyde, where I had a series of small parts, including that of a priest conducting a wedding. Although this may have felt like typecasting, I can only hope that it proves helpful preparation for the years to come.”

BECKY HANCOCK worked for HSBC for 22 years. Apart from a brief spell attending Sunday school as a child, Becky was not a church-goer. However, in 2001 the horror of 9/11 and the birth of her first child prompted her attendance at the local parish church. “I was seeking answers to the many questions I had about the purpose of life, and I wanted to know where the heck God was when those planes struck the two towers!! What I didn’t expect was that as I searched for answers and challenged God, my own life would be gently but dramatically transformed… and now here I am facing my priesting with utter joy and total amazement.

“My passion for making a difference in the lives of people has not changed, but my purpose is very different; my purpose is God and His mission, my passion is Christ and his gospel and my enabler is the Holy Spirit.  Any insecurities that I have about my unworthiness are handled by my utter faith in Christ who knows that I am trying – hope-filled, love-fuelled, enthusiastic and imperfect but trying. To God be the glory.”

Becky is married to John, a faculty head in secondary education, and they have two children, Ellie (16) and James (13). She trained at St John’s School of Mission, Nottingham and hopes to continue her theological studies with St John’s in the Autumn.  Becky is serving her title with The Revd Jonathan Strickland in the Bawtry with Austerfield, Misson, Everton & Mattersey Benefice.


The other Priest Candidates are:

MICHAEL ALLEN – After graduating with a degree in history, Michael was involved in therapeutic work amongst adults with learning disabilities and in secure mental health settings. Michael then trained for ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He is married to Beth and they have two children: Florence (3 ½) and Henry (1 ½).   Michael is serving his title with The Revd Tim Parker in the East Leake, West Leake, Stanford-on-Soar, Rempstone and Costock Benefice.

NAEEM BAHADUR – Before coming to the UK, Naeem ministered in the Presbyterian church for 5 years and his wife Rubina worked as a Nurse. They have three children, Cyrus (6), Jeremiah (4) and Zara (8 months old). Naeem trained for ordained ministry at the Queens Foundation, Birmingham. He is serving his title with The Revd Clive Burrows in the Hyson Green & Forest Fields Benefice.

SIMON FELLOWS – Simon is from Dover and prior to training, he worked for several 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 is married to Julia who is from the Faroe Islands. Simon hopes to expand his role into the wider mission of the deanery in Nottingham North in the coming years of his Curacy following his ordination as Priest. He is serving his title with The Revd Canon Peter Huxtable in Stapleford Benefice.

MICHELE HAMPSON – Michele moved to Nottingham to work as an adult psychiatrist in 1989. Following her retirement in 2012 she completed a theology degree at St John’s College, Nottingham, whilst helping to care for her elderly parents and then trained for ordination at Ridley College, Cambridge. She continues to help faith communities grow in their understanding of wellbeing and their ability to care for those facing mental health challenges alongside her work as curate. She is serving her title with The Revd Dr Megan Smith in the Lenton Benefice.

KAREN HANFORD – Karen was formerly a Probation Officer and an adviser for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.  She explored a call to ministry whilst studying theology part-time at St John’s College, Nottingham, where she then continued her ordination training.  Karen is married to David and they have a son, Richard, and daughter-in-law, Rachel. She is enjoying serving her title with The Revd Canon Tim Pullen in the Wollaton Benefice.

CHRISTOPHER LEE – Chris sometimes admits to having a maths degree and trained as a primary teacher before becoming a children’s worker for a church in York. He is married to Ruth, who works for the Young Leadership College in the diocese.  Chris likes to be physically active and eat a lot of food. He trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall in Durham and is currently serving his title with The Revd David Pickersgill at Newark on Trent St Mary Magdalene with St Leonard Benefice.

RACHEL MITCHELL – Rachel is married to Sid and has three adult children and one grandchild who are all pleased to cheer her on in her curacy. Along with preaching, leading and Alpha, Rachel is enjoying being part of the church community and engaging with groups in the villages, including the coffee shops. Rachel is serving her title with the Revd Canon Mark Tanner in Radcliffe-on-Trent and Shelford Benefice having trained for ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham

PETER SHAW – Peter worked as an actor for a number of years in all sorts of roles, his favourite being a camel.  He is married to Steph, and they have a six-month old son, Josiah. They met whilst on tour with the Riding Lights Theatre Company. Peter trained for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and has spent the last year serving his title with The Revd Canon Tim Pullen in the Wollaton Benefice and as pioneer curate in the Nottingham North Deanery.

See Photos of Mike Forsyth, Becky Hancock, George White, Garreth Frank – and mum and son Karen and Richard Hanford.