Twenty Five (25) People from diverse walks of life and all ages from twenty eight to seventy will be ordained as Priests and Deacons in the Diocese of Durham at ceremonies to be staged at Durham Cathedral on Saturday 4th July (Priests) and Sunday 5th July (Deacons).
Each one has been called to ordained ministry after amassing a wealth of experiences in a wide range of places and jobs.
ORDINATION OF PRIESTS
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Revd Andrea Dart,Â Stanley & South Moore
Andrea Dart, (67), taught in Primary Schools for 36 years, in the North East and earlier in her career in London. She was a headteacher for 20 years.
She says: â€œTraining for the priesthood was a bit of a challenge, getting my brain back into a study mode was harder than I expected, and I had to develop new learning strategies; the ones I used when younger just didnâ€™t work any longer. After many years in one role I have had to adapt to a completely different one, although this has meant changing in some ways, I have found the process enriching and feel blessed to have this new dimension to my life.â€
Revd Lorna Gardner,Â Blaydon and Swalwell
Lorna Gardner, (61), Her secondary education was at Walbottle Campus, Secondary School in the North East of England where she obtained good results at CSE level. Â In 1995, Lorna undertook some post graduate study at the University of Northumbria and obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management in 1997. Her professional qualifications include English Language, Typewriting, Shorthand and Certificate of Personnel Management. In Lornaâ€™s early working life, she worked in a variety of different areas. Â However, since the early 90s, her work has been centred around Human Resources.
Lorna is married to David and they have two children.
Revd Barbara Hilton, Darlington
Barbara Hilton, (55), said: â€œThe greatest reward is being with people, walking alongside them at the pivotal points in their lives. It is humbling that people trust you so much and that are happy to share things with you that they may not share with anyone else.â€
Barbara is married to David and has a step-son
Â Revd Kevin Kitson, Durham North
Kevin Kitson, (50), was Â born in Stockton on Tees. Worked as a police officer with Durham Constabulary from the age of 21. During his time as a police officer worked as a beat officer in Durham City, spent time in the two highest level of crime sections in the Durham Division (Meadowfield and Sherburn), worked as a traffic patrol officer, police motorcyclist, and as a forensic collision investigator responsible for investigating fatal, serious life threatening, and life changing road traffic accidents. Took voluntary redundancy from the police force in July 2014. He says; â€œMy call to ministry, for me, was something I had never contemplated. I belonged to a family that was not overtly religious and yet I had always felt drawn to the church, as if being pulled by an incredibly strong magnet.
â€œUltimately, God intervened and one Sunday I had the incredible sense of being pulled towards the church so forcibly that I could no longer resist. It was a joyous moment of submission. Gradually I again felt Godâ€™s presence, drawing me to the front of the church during a Sunday Communion Service, and placing me physically there to lead His people. This was not what I considered to be a normal, rational experience. I had never had any desire or compulsion to wear a dog collar or to minister, and I started to have concerns about my mental and emotional wellbeing. Ultimately, I was enabled through prayer and scripture to open my heart more fully to God and discern the vocation he was allotting to me. It was a vocation that was identified and confirmed by my friends, congregation, priests, and whilst studying tutors.
Married to Juliet and has one daughter.
Â Revd Debbie Loughran,Â Aycliffe
Debbie Loughran, (43), was born and raised in Halewood, Liverpool where she lived until she moved to Durham in order to study at Cranmer Hall.
She says: â€œMy call was first realised by others, others who very kindly brought it to my attention in a million different, persistent ways. I guess I have always felt the desire to spread the Gospel, to give people who have never heard about the love that God has for each one of us the opportunity to do so.â€
Married to Alan and has two boys
Â Revd Margaret Mackay,Â Rowlands Gill
Margaret Mackay, (55), was born and brought up in Heworth, Gateshead, where she attended St Maryâ€™s church . She worked as teacher in primary schools. She became a part time supply teacher in 2010, a job which she has continued since ordination as Deacon Â and will continue after ordination as Priest.
She says: â€œI have attended church all my life and have taken on many different roles which seemed to be right at the time; all of which I enjoyed and gave of my best. Â Â From being a teenager I have always had a strong call to something in terms of ministry and explored many different things over the years. Â It has taken me a long time to realise that it was ordained ministry to which God was ultimately calling me, even though many people kept telling me thatâ€™s what I should be doing.â€
Â Revd Kyle McNeil,Â Darlington
Kyle McNeil, (28), was brought up on a farm in rural Perthshire, Scotland, where his father produces Aberdeen Angus beef cattle. After attending a Scottish boarding school, he came south of the border to attend University. He studied at the University of Durham, where he read Ancient History and Archaeology, before beginning his progress towards Priesthood.
He says: â€œFrom quite early in my life I had thought that I might have a vocation in some form of leadership. At school, for most boys, that meant becoming an Army Officer. God had other plans, though, and I began to understand what they were when I was a student. It took me two years to pluck up enough courage to tell someone that I thought I might be called to be a Priest. When I did, I was told by the Universityâ€™s Vocations Adviser that he had been waiting for me to approach him: other people had seen what I had been reluctant to admit.â€
Â RevdÂ Nicholas Moore, Stranton
Nicholas Moore, (30), was born and brought up in Durham. After graduating he worked as lay assistant at a group of churches in Chesham, Buckinghamshire. He returned to Oxford to train for ordination at Wycliffe Hall and did a Diploma and then a Masterâ€™s in Theology.
He says: â€œI was nurtured in the Christian faith at St Nicâ€™s Church in Durham market place throughout my childhood. I grew significantly in my faith in my early teens and again at university, yet until 2005 I assumed I would look for an â€œordinaryâ€ job after my studies. Â I began to explore the possibility that God was calling me into some form of full-time ministry. I came to realise that I was an Anglican by conviction, and not just by birth/baptism, and so pursued ordination in the Church of England.
Married to Rebekah.
Â Revd Susan Plummer, Darlington
Sue Plummer, (70), was born in Newcastle in 1944. After leaving school she worked at Newcastle University in the Computing department. She moved to Darlington in 1970 and is a former Mayoress. In 1998 she began training as a Reader and was licensed in Durham Cathedral in 2001. She has been a governor at St. Johnâ€™s Church of England Academy for a number of years and is involved in an after-school Bible Club which meets weekly in term time.
She says: â€œI have, from being a youngster, been involved in church life, and have always felt the pull to do more.
â€œThe most significant change in my faith came when in March 2000 my son Robert was killed in a car accident. Â Throughout this dreadful experience I knew that Godâ€™s hand was in it. Â I just knew that Robert was OK and I knew that was God-given. During this difficult time I knew more and more that I could not do things in my own strength but had to rely on God.â€
Married to Gordon. Â They had two children and have two grandchildren.
Revd Bryony Taylor, Houghton Le Spring
Bryony Taylor, (37), grew up in Southend on Sea, Essex and went to university in Leeds. She worked in the lifelong learning sector, in museum and library education, at the Learning and Skills Council working with FE colleges, in workforce development policy at the Sector Skills Council Lifelong Learning UK and as an Education Consultant at Frogtrade Ltd â€“ an educational software company working with primary and secondary schools.
She started writing a book on the portrayal of Christians in popular culture whilst at theological college and finished writing it as she started her curacy.
She says: â€œIt was a really interesting experience writing firstly from the perspective of a lay person and then reflecting on the experience of being ordained and wearing a dog collar. It made me see the portrayal of clergy in particular on television quite differently.â€ Full story Here
Married to Paul.Â
RevdÂ Rebecca Tobin, The Boldons
Rebecca Tobin, (39), was born in the south and became a northerner aged 12 when her family moved from Essex to South Shields.
She says: â€œI had a growing sense of vocation, which I could no longer ignore. It came as rather a shock. Although life was not bad, it was some how unsatisfactory, something was missing. I was not yet who I was meant to be. The call to return to church after several missing years came first, and with it an increased sense of being a member of the body of Christ. Which then became a persistent, awkward, little voice in my head on a Sunday morning saying â€˜ I should be up thereâ€™.â€
ORDINATION OF DEACON
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Susan Bell, Darlington
|Sue Bell (52), is a registered manager of a residential care home for people with learning difficulties and has worked in social care for 30 years. She said: â€œIt is in this environment that my ministry and paid employment merge â€“ working with the disadvantaged and potentially marginalised â€“ imitating the ministry of Jesus as he lived and worked among those on the periphery of society.â€|
Stephen Briggs, Durham
Richard Briggs, (48), grew up in London, became a Christian at University and has spent most of his time since in ministry or in theological education.
Married to Melody with three children.
Norma Clee, Eighton Banks
Norma Clee (62), comes to ordained ministry after a career in the civil service.
An Ouston lass through-and-through Norma says: â€œI have lived in Ouston most of my life and was born in a house opposite our present home. My mother lived in that house for 76 years.â€
She is married to Brian and they have two children and two grandchildren.
Ken Coulson, Windy Nook
Ken Coulson, (69), has lived in Gateshead all his life. He began work at 16 with the Coop and worked mainly in the public sector. Since retirement, he has worked as a volunteer at Gateshead Foodbank, where is he is very involved in the work that they do on food poverty, something that has instrumental in his call to be ordained.
He says: â€œNo one can accuse me of rushing it. It has taken me a lifetimeâ€™s journey as part of a small urban church to take this step.â€
Married to Lynn for 40 years and has two children and three grandchildren.
Ruth Dawson, Heighington & Darlington
Ruth Dawson, (70), was born in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. Apart from a career break of eight years spent as a full-time mum and housewife, she worked in the private commercial sector for my whole working life until retirement aged sixty-four.
She says: â€œMy feeling that I was called to some form of ministry within the church has developed slowly down the years. Â I was ultimately compelled in 2012 to respond to Godâ€™s call. My faith and my relationship with God have been constants throughout my life and are the things that have sustained me through the challenges it has presented.â€
She is married to Alan and they have five grandchildren.
Kate Jamie, Easington
Kate Jamie, (33), grew up in the village of Ingrave, in Brentwood, Essex.
She completed two years as an Education Assistant at the Education Department at Shakespeareâ€™s Globe Theatre, London, going on to train at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama gaining a degree in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education in 2005. Â After training at Drama School, she worked as a freelance Drama Practitioner before going back to the Globe as an Education Manager. Â She left her post at the Globe Theatre to work as a Chaplaincy Assistant at Kingâ€™s College, London.
She is married to Matt.
Â Danie Lindley, Chester le Street
Danie Lindley, (43), was born in Nottingham, baptised as a Roman Catholic and attended church most Sundays. Worked as a teacher.
Danie says: â€œSadly, when I was 26 my younger brother, James who was 24, was involved in a house fire and was in Intensive care for 72 hours. We were told that he would not survive and for the first time in my life I relied on God fully. James died with his family around him; me, mum and dad. This was an awful time in my life, however looking back I was able to rely on God and made a promise that I would follow him and listen to him and what he had planned for me. A real turning point in my life and a promise that would change things forever.
â€œI became part of our church when the boys were very young and we have worshipped at Parish South, Â a part of St Mary and St Cuthbert’s, Chester-le-Street ever since. I eventually had to listen when others from church were confirming that they believed I was called to ministry.â€
Married to Russ and has two boys.
Linda Lindsay, Crook
Linda Lindsay, (62) worked in local government for 30 years before training for ordination through the Lindisfarne Regional Training Programme.
Linda says: â€œI worked in Local Government for nearly 30 years in a variety of roles, all of which brought me into direct contact with members of the public. Â I enjoyed being part of a busy team striving to improve standards of care in residential and home care services for older people living in County Durham. Â This brought me into direct contact with some truly inspirational individuals who have shaped my outlook on life.
â€œFor the last two years I have been studying for ordination and to meet others on this journey has made such a difference to me – knowing that they are there offering their support and loving friendship keeps me going and makes a huge difference. Â I know they will continue to support me throughout my future ministry.â€
Married to John, with two children and 4 grandchildren.
Alison Miller, Lanchester
Ali Miller, (39), hails from the North West.
She says: â€œI was aware of a constant urge to explore vocation to ordained ministry. Godâ€™s call is often unexpected and, in my case, I felt deep within that I needed to take time to contemplate this, not least because my husband was also going through the discernment process. Gradually after much prayer (and encouragement from diverse places), I knew that this path was right to pursue.â€
Married to Andy with two children.
Lucy Moss, Spennymoore
Lucy Moss, (29), was born in Stanley, Co. Durham. She read Theology at Christ Church University, Canterbury and after graduating in 2007, Â became Pastoral Assistant at Hayes and Hayes End Methodist churches in Middlesex. She was accepted for ordination and began training in 2013.
She says: â€œMy father died Â when I was nine years old and five months after his death, we went to the Keswick Convention. During a day out to the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway I was looking through my father’s Bible and declared to my family that I was going to be a priest. My family initially believed it was a reaction to my father’s death. However, my sense of vocation never left me. Through the years I have explored, tested and challenged my vocation and there have been tears and lots of laughter. It is amazing knowing that 20 years later, almost to the day that I announced I was going to be a priest as child, Â I will be ordained in Durham Cathedral. Â
Gemma Sampson, Hartlepool
Gemma Sampson, (39), was born and brought up in Coventry. Prior to training for ordination she was a Youth Worker in Coventry where she taught sex education in schools, youth clubs and other youth settings, including the local prison for young people up to the age of 18. Â After a brief stint in the schoolâ€™s team at Coventry Cathedral, where she worked with schools and young people on Peace and Reconciliation initiatives, her last job in Coventry was working with young women in violent and controlling relationships, and those who were being groomed for sexual exploitation. Â She left her job early, to spend three months doing voluntary work in India, with women and children who had been trafficked into the sex industry. She remains hugely committed to equality issues, particularly those regarding sexual exploitation, gender and human trafficking.
She says: â€œIn the summer of 2014 I went on placement to Sunderland Minster to, in the terrifying words of my tutor â€˜test a vocation to the North Eastâ€™ I thought I was just going to have a look at what the area was like! Â I fell in love with the area, the people and the coastline so, when Coventry Diocese told me they didnâ€™t have a suitable curacy for me I wasnâ€™t surprised. Â Of course they didnâ€™t; the suitable curacy was going to be in the North East. Â Fortunately, this proved to be the case and I am excited about my move and about beginning my title post here in Hartlepool.â€
Ian Somasundram, Hebburn
|Ian Somasundram, (33), grew up in the market town of Northallerton in North Yorkshire. He went to study Chemical Engineering at Manchester then went to Cambridge to study for a PhD in Chemical Engineering, and worked as a lay assistant minister of a church in Cambridge.|
He says: â€œTo test if God was calling me to full-time ministry I worked for a church in a lay capacity, working alongside young adults in the church and taking responsibility for the evangelistic ministry. It seemed to confirm that God was calling me to ordained ministry and so here we are.â€
He is married to Helen and has two sons.
Tim Wall, Peterlee
|Timothy Wall, (28), was born and raised in Hull and I came to university in Durham in 2005 to study mathematics. He moved to Bradford after graduation to do an internship for Christians Against Poverty â€“ a debt counselling charity. He came back to Durham to be an intern at St. Nicholasâ€™ church and started training for ordination in 2012 at Cranmer Hall in Durham. He says: â€œSome of the most amazing experiences of church I have experienced have been when it has reached out, not to draw others in, but to offer something and make the love of God known and tangible in the community outside.â€|
Timothy is married to Susanna.
Catherine Walton, Norton
|Catherine Walton, (49), was born in Saltburn then moved south down through the country spending time in Leeds and Staffordshire before ending up on the Isle of Wight before making the way back up the country via Cambridge and Blackpool. She works for the Archdeacon of Auckland.|
She says: â€œThe daughter of a vicar and secretary/PA to the Archdeacon of Auckland, no-one was more surprised than me when seemingly random people suggested that I should be a vicar and that others agreed.â€
Has two daughters.
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