Introducing our new deacons and Assistant Curate

First published 12th October 2020

The Right Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, ordained 10 new deacons over four services in Bristol Cathedral on Sunday 11 October. Revd James Cannan was also licensed as Assistant Curate to allow him to minister in the UK, after recently moving from the USA.

These ordinations were due to take place in July but COVID-19 restrictions made that impossible. Instead, virtual services were held to ensure they could start or continue their work in the church. Now that they have been ordained, the new deacons will work alongside an experienced priest in the Diocese until their ordination as Priest next year.

Revd Mark Nam, St Annes' and United Church Longwell Green

My grandparents came to the U.K. from South China in the 1920’s and I was born in Newport, South Wales. Prior to training for ordination, I studied law, before becoming a pastor at a large international church in Hong Kong. My family and I moved back to the U.K. in 2016, so that I could pursue a season of theological study. During my time at Trinity College, I was encouraged to explore ordained ministry and am grateful to be staying in Bristol for my curacy. I am married to Kayi and we home-educate our three young children. As a family, we are looking forward to joining the community in Longwell Green and Oldland Common. In these difficult and unprecedented times—be it Brexit, the Environmental Crisis, COVID-19, Black Lives Matter—I look forward to discovering new ways in which we can engage with our local community and point towards the hope and healing we have in Christ Jesus, who is our present help in times of need.

Revd Gaby Doherty, St Matthew's Kingsdown

I have felt that the Lord was calling me to this Ministry for 20 years and the path has been uneven and bumpy in places. It was a privilege to be selected and I am very blessed to have received excellent training at St Mellitus. I feel ready to embrace the challenges ahead and look forward to seeing what God has for us at this stage. My family, Sean and our four children enjoy life to the full and although moving to Bristol has had its’ challenges we are glad to be here as part of the Trinity community and soon to be St Matthews Community also. I am really excited about stepping out into Ordained Ministry in such a time as this. The church needs us to be ready to embrace the  world however it looks after we have reopened for business. This is an opportunity never seen before and possibly never seen again to rethink Church and loving our communities and it would be a tragedy if we just tried to step back onto our old paths with no thought of whether God is making new ways for us.

Revd Anjali Kanagaratnam, Bybrook Team Ministry North Wiltshire

I am married to Neil and we have three children. My first inkling that God may be calling me to ordained ministry came over a decade ago when I was training for licensed lay ministry. I had just taken a career break from my job as a teacher and was at home looking after my two young boys. At that point, however, I did not clearly sense that call on my life, so I resisted but remained open. Since then, through two international moves, the birth of our daughter and involvement in the church and the community, both in the UK and Thailand, God gently but clearly showed me that this was indeed His will for me. I am excited about this new stage in my journey as a deacon in the Church of England, and am passionate about exploring what it means to share the good news of Jesus to an increasingly secular and diverse society.

Revd Jo Morris, St Mary Magdalene Stoke Bishop

Six years ago I would never in a million years ever thought, let alone believed, that God would call me to serve as an ordained minister – and yet here I am (still heading there!). Previously a nurse and still a wife and mother, this is a journey that has been well travelled alongside family and friends – all of whom I am so thankful for. A family friend emailed to assure me of their prayers as I navigated hoops through the process; weeks later someone else had a picture of me walking through hoops as she prayed. Walking up the path to the retreat house in Ely for my BAP, I was struck by the number of hoops dotted around the garden....  Unlikely though it once seemed, I believe this is where God wants me at this time. And our ordination stoles will be a bit like another hoop.... I’m thrilled to be returning to St Mary’s, humbled and eager to serve the community there and excited to see what God has in store for us all.

Revd Rob Stewart, St Bartholomew's Wick

I am married to Jane with one daughter, Abigail who has made me a very proud grandad just under a year ago. I have been blessed to train at Trinity College Bristol as a part-time student whilst maintaining my role at UWE as a senior lecturer in Radiography. The road has been a long one, including 13 years as a Licensed Lay Minister, but my testimony is that God has been very patient with me and His love endures. At a time when many might be looking forward to retirement I find myself excited by the prospects that this new road in ministry may take me. My role in UWE will be continuing as a part-time whilst I spend more time in ministry. I am returning to churches I know and love and I think they are just as excited about what the future holds for us.

Revd Tom Morgan, Pattern Church Swindon

I’m Tom Morgan and a trained through Trinity College, Bristol as a ’Dispersed Learner’ based at Pattern Church in Swindon, where I am staying for my Curacy. Prior to moving to Swindon for the launch of Pattern Church in 2018, I worked in a large comprehensive school in West Wiltshire for 12 years and lived in North East Somerset where I’d grown up. I’m excited to continue to be part of Pattern Church connecting people in Swindon to faith in Jesus Christ and seeing the church make a positive difference in the town we love.

Revd Vicky Wicks, St Michael’s Stoke Gifford

I'm Vicky, I'm married to Rob and have two boys - Oliver (20) and Geroge (18). I didn't expect to be getting ordained... when I graduated I worked in theatre for a number of years. 16 years ago I changed career and began to work for the church: I opened a coffee shop, ran Alpha, and took care of all age worship and our welcome teams. I began to hear God asking more of me, and tried to work out what that was, fully expecting the door to ordination to close at some point. It didn't and here I am! As I look forward I am excited about the call, as it says in the ordinal, to 'tell the story of God's love' - this is what I am looking forward to. And as I look back, this is what I have always been doing - it has all been directing me towards this point. But this isn't the end, it is the beginning of a new stage of life and ministry.

Revd Chris Brown, Christ Church Clifton

I am married to Esther and we have three teenage children. In the last few months we've watched a lot of films together! When we can get out we enjoy camping and cycling and stops for tea and cake. Prior to training at Trinity College, Bristol, I led the design department for a computer company working with teams over three continents. My ordination journey began in my late teens and has involved many different styles of church in different denominations and seeing afresh the glorious diversity of the Church. After 25 years in engineering and computing God reaffirmed the call to ordained ministry and here I am continuing to follow Jesus into a new season as a curate at Christ Church, Clifton. It's a joy and privilege to be ordained deacon and to serve with the team at Christ Church, Clifton, as we follow God's call to proclaim the good news of Jesus' love and the certain hope available to all who trust in him.

Revd Cheryl Hawkins, Holy Trinity Westbury on Trym

My journey towards Ordination has been a gradual realisation that God has been calling me - with a lot of what I call "blurting out" moment prompted by the Holy Spirit to move me on my discernment  journey. I have enjoyed the challenge of training at Sarum College, Salisbury part time alongside my day job as a Civil Servant. One of the blessings in training whilst working has been able to fully share by journey and faith with work colleagues and being able to bring my full self to work each day. I am grateful to the close friends and those in my sending Church who have supported me in my discernment journey and whilst training. I feel very ready to leave the Civil Service and step into full time ministry. I have always felt God calling me to a ministry of presence and I am excited to see what this will mean in Westbury on Trym and how I can walk alongside those with faith and none and the challenges this will bring. Having finally made the transition into full time ministry has been wonderful ahead of Ordination. It has been great to start getting to know the Congregation at Westbury on Trym and start making links with the wider community. I am excited by the challenges that lie ahead and what God has planned for me in the place where I have been called to serve my curacy.

Revd Kandis Douglas, St Peter's Henleaze

There are many roles by which I have been known: mum, sister, teacher, systems engineer, boss, homeless shelter duty manager, worship leader. But by far the most precious is that of child of the living God, adopted in Christ through the Holy Spirit. The journey of seeking to be a good daughter has led me to today, a new adventure with a loving heavenly father who chooses to include us all in his work of renewal and reconciliation. So, to the future, I plan to continue working part-time as a lecturer in computing living with my two adult children Joel and Jessie. I am excited to meet and come to know the people of Henleaze and explore together what God is calling us to at this time and in this place. Today I receive the title deacon and, as I have asked myself many times, what does this mean? For me, it means following Christ’s example, being a servant, following beside, encouraging, welcoming. In these strange times, as we seek to learn how to live with Covid-19, the role of proclaiming our faith afresh in each generation has never seemed more important. I look ahead to Christmas and wonder what wonderful new ways we may proclaim Christ’s coming in this generation?

Revd James Cannan, St Matthew's Kingsdown and All Saints Clifton

I’ve been walking this path for twenty years. Longer really. From the moment of my connection to Jesus I have had both a modern and ancient connection. An evangelical, a charismatic, a catholic, and a Celtic draw to expressions of our faith, so when I was put on the path to ordained ministry within the Anglican Communion I knew that the call to ministry I had always felt, had a direction. This calling is a direction to service, and to sacrament, to community and to God, and I am both excited and sober before the responsibility. I thank God and all those who have walked with me on this path that neither ends, nor starts here, but continues in the hand of God.

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