The largest group of deacons to be ordained in the Diocese of Winchester since 2009 will join parishes across Hampshire and East Dorset. Three deacons are embarking on an innovative new form of church ministry.
Sixteen men and women joined the Diocese of Winchester’s team of clergy on Sunday 3 July as they were ordained deacons at Winchester Cathedral by the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin.
Eight women and a further eight men, ranging in age from 27 to 67, bring a huge breadth of background and experience to the Diocese of Winchester. Between them, they have worked in a wide range of sectors, including medicine, teaching and the Army, before responding to God’s call to serve their local communities as Christian leaders.
The Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, ordained the new deacons following two to three years of training. Deacons have a special role within the Church, often understood as the role of a servant as they take on a particular responsibility to serve the community and reach out to those in need. Deacons will normally go on to be ordained as a priest a year later.
The 16 new deacons will be working in churches across Hampshire and Dorset, leading public worship and serving their local areas in schools, hospitals and prisons, and by working in partnership with community groups to bring about social renewal and transformation. Between them, they will take responsibility for contributing towards the work of the Church in the Diocese of Winchester.
This year, three of the newly ordained deacons will embark on a new kind of ministry. As part of their own ongoing training they will focus, from the start, on developing the capacity of the local churches, jointly serving the parish of St Swithun’s in Headbourne Worthy, near Winchester.
Typically, a newly ordained deacon will join a more experienced ‘training priest’ as a curate to support their ministry in a parish, and when the curate moves on after three years, a new curate often takes their place. Instead these three curates will have a specific responsibility to empower ordinary members of the parish community to take on leadership roles which build up the Church community and enable its mission in the local parish and wider world. So the aim of this new form of curacy is to empower the local Christian community to such an extent that the curates will not be replaced at the end of their three year placement – instead, local lay people will have adopted new leadership roles and will themselves be leading and enabling the mission of the congregations.
Bishop Tim said:
“I am delighted to have ordained these sixteen new members of the clergy this weekend. Deacons lead by example, expressing Jesus’ love for the world through their prophetic service.
“I am particularly excited about our new initiative in Headbourne Worthy, which three of our new deacons will be leading. Their work represents an innovative approach to meeting the needs of the local community and empowering local people to take on a much greater role within their parish.
“I look forward to working closely with all of our new deacons over the coming years.”
To see photos from the diaconate ordinations click here.
To see photos from the priestly ordinations click here.
Curacy in Headbourne Worthy
This year, three of the newly ordained deacons, including a husband and wife team, will be embarking on an innovative form of ministry for the Church of England, jointly serving the parish of St Swithun’s in Headbourne Worthy, near Winchester.
Typically, a newly ordained deacon will join a more experienced ‘priest-in-charge’ as a curate to support their ministry in a parish, and when the curate moves on after three years, a new curate often takes their place. Instead these three curates will be taking on a much greater leadership role within their new parish, with the specific mission to empower ordinary members of the parish community to take on leadership roles in the Church. The aim of this new form of curacy is to empower the local community to such an extent that the curates will not be replaced at the end of their three year placement – instead, local lay people will have adopted the new leadership roles.
Each of the new curates comes well-prepared to take on an active role within their local community.
Prior to ordination, Cliff McClelland had a varied career in the military, in finance and running corporate events. Commenting on his new role he said: “I remain excited and maybe a little bit apprehensive about the call to ordination; I can’t wait to get going, especially since both Sarah my wife and I are being ordained at the same time. We have an amazing set of people, incumbent and area to work with from what I have seen so far – just need to get the house moved and find a cycling club to join!”
His wife Sarah McClelland is being ordained alongside him, and joins him in this new initiative. Prior to ordination she worked as a GP, and she plans to continue with this work. Describing her call to ordination, she said: “I am passionate about the church as an instrument of God’s Kingdom, as the place of ultimate healing through Jesus. That said, I’m going to continue in general practice for half a day a week (for expenses only!) as part of my curacy – it’s a great way to build relationships and understand what’s happening in the lives of folk outside the church. I’m excited about ordination as a public affirmation of the calling I sense, and I trust that God will equip me in it. It’s a particular joy to be ordained with my husband, to be called into ordained ministry together. Having already visited the benefice has enabled me to understand that my primary role is serving – there are already many wonderful initiatives and a great sense of community and I’m looking forward to joining in!”
The final ordinand joining the parish is Jen Holder, whose background is as a musician and teacher. Like her colleagues, she is excited about the challenge ahead: “Ordination – despite many doubts and uncertainties along the way seems ‘just right’ – my heart has never felt so peaceful despite the immensity of the calling. I hope to bring my experience of God’s wonderful, radical love to my new parish, transforming communities, building relationships and leading worship that really helps people to meet God and make room for him in the whole of their lives.”
The parish already has a number of different activities taking place on a regular basis for members of the local community, including ‘Messy Church’ and holiday clubs for children, and prayer breakfasts for men and women. The new curates are hoping to support the parish to reach out even further.
Full list of new deacons
The full list of deacons who have been ordained this year is below, together with the parishes they will be serving.
- May Barker, Bournemouth All Saints
- Christopher Bradish, Alton
- Benjamin Chase, Hartley Wintney with Elvetham and Winchfield and Dogmersfield
- Matthew Clayton, St Swithun’s Church in Bournemouth Town Centre
- Jen Holder, Headbourne Worthy: King’s Worthy
- Katie Lawrence, Winchester Cathedral
- Mark Lewis, Whitewater
- Clifford McClelland, Headbourne Worthy: King’s Worthy
- Sarah McClelland, Headbourne Worthy: King’s Worthy
- Mary Nicholson, Brockenhurst
- Christopher Ogilvie Thompson, Bentley, Binsted and Froyle
- Tony Palmer, Chandlers Ford
- Jan Parfitt, Bitterne
- Simon Robertson, Hordle
- Janette Smith, Hartley Wintney with Elvetham and Winchfield and Dogmersfield
- Jane Thompson, Michelmersh and Awbridge and Braishfield and Timsbury and Farley Chamberlayne