Worshippers have welcomed 14 new priests and deacons to their new roles serving communities right across Suffolk.
The Petertide ordinations of new priests and deacons are seen by the Church’s thousands of regular worshippers in Suffolk as one of the most important festival days of the year, when they celebrate those at the beginning of their ordained ministry as a deacon, or now entering their ministry as priests.
The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, welcomed the new clergy as he oversaw two celebrations at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds when well-wishers, families and friends gathered as the new priests and deacons were ordained during two separate services on Saturday and Sunday, July 4-5.
The new clergy will serve in communities including in or near Ipswich and Stowmarket, at Bury St Edmunds, Hadleigh, Newmarket, Sudbury and at East Bergholt and Brantham near Manningtree.
Among those becoming Deacons was Laurence Smith, who at 24 years old was the youngest of those being ordained. Originally from Felixstowe, he graduated with a History degree from the University of East Anglia in Norwich in 2012 and will serve his curacy at St Mary’s and St Peter’s, Bury St Edmunds.
Other new Deacons included Matthew and Claire Ling who met at Sheffield University and celebrated their silver wedding anniversary a few weeks before they were both ordained deacons. Claire’s career has been in nursing and health visiting and Matthew started life in physics and engineering, before moving into local government in Ipswich 10 years ago.
Bishop Martin, who was enthroned as Bishop at the Cathedral recently, was ordaining his first priests and deacons his new role within the county.
Bishop Martin said: “I can think of no greater honour and privilege for a bishop than to ordain new deacons and priests for the Church. I will never forget my first ordinations as the new Bishop.
“I am ordaining an extraordinarily gifted group of men and women, they are themselves clear evidence of the work of God among us.
“Every one of those being ordained is filled with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. They all know they cannot do what God is calling them to in their own strength, so they all possess a remarkable mixture of courage and humility.”
The Revd Tim Jones, Diocesan Director of Ordinands and New Ministries, said: “We have an unusually large number of people being ordained at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in this year.
“It is a huge step for anyone to take: some are leaving behind secure jobs with a relatively high income, others have chosen ministry alongside the significant demands of other life commitments.
“Each of them are taking vows which shift the focus of their life onto the mission of Jesus Christ, in response to their sense of calling. What really impresses me is their eagerness to serve the people of Suffolk, in all of the joys and griefs that life can bring to any of us.”
Those made a Deacon are: Su Shaw: Self supporting assistant curate, Newmarket All Saints; Susan Bates, stipendiary assistant curate, Yoxmere Benefice; Cathy Bladen: Stipendiary assistant curate, Sancroft Benefice; Tricia Box: Self supporting assistant curate, Bures with Assington and Little Cornard; Chris Hood: Stipendiary assistant curate, Haughley Benefice; Claire Ling: Stipendiary assistant curate, Kesgrave All Saints; Matthew Ling: Stipendiary assistant curate, East Bergholt and Brantham; Laurence Smith: Stipendiary assistant curate, St Mary with St Peter’s, Bury and Jane Wright, self supporting assistant curate, the Monks Eleigh Benefice. Paul Darbyshire, a new deacon who has moved from another diocese, joined the ordinands and will serve in Kesgrave.
Those made priests were: The Revd Rachel Cornish: Self supporting assistant curate, Benefice of Great Finborough with Onehouse, Harleston, Buxhall and Shelland and the Benefice of Combs with Little Finborough; The Revd Eleanor Goodison: Self supporting assistant curate, Benefice of South Hartismere; The Revd Philip Merry: Self supporting assistant curate, Great Bealings and Little Bealings with Playford and Culpho; The Revd Jennie Ridley: Self supporting assistant curate, Sudbury All Saints with Ballingdon and Brundon; and The Revd Daniel Thompson: Stipendiary assistant curate, Hadleigh, Layham and Shelley.
In addition the weekend before at the cathedral new readers were licenced. Readers are lay people, called by God, trained and licensed by the Church to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work.
The new Readers are: Andrew Clifft, Bures, Assington, and Little Cornard; Malcolm Knapp, Wilford Peninsula; and Joe Rudniski, Brandon and Sandon Downham with Elveden and Lakenheath. Two Readers were also welcomed from another diocese and licenced to serve in Suffolk: Katharine Holmes, Needham Market with Bradley, and Peter Postle, for Lavenham with Preston St Mary.