Bishop Richard Blackburn ordained 17 new Deacons in the Diocese of Liverpool on July 3rd.
James Harding, Alison Shaw, Jayne Van Den Berg-Owens, Tim Stanford, Andy Brown, Julie Anderson, Philip Saltmarsh, Norma Arnold, Eileen Heaney, Michael Leyden, Ian Wynne, Harry Greenhalgh, Phil Turner, David Nyirongo, Alan Conant and Geoff Ardern were all ordained by the Bishop at Liverpool Cathedral.
Margaret Jennings was ordained in her own parish later that day by Bishop Richard, and Tim Watson will be ordained in France in August before taking up a post at Liverpool Cathedral.
This year’s new Deacons include a former soldier, two businesswomen, a former Oxford tutor, a doctor and a police officer. All eighteen Deacons will serve in parishes throughout the Diocese. The Diocese of Liverpool’s 250 churches are spread across rural and urban communities, stretching from Southport in the North to Widnes in the South, and from Liverpool in the West across to Wigan in the East, serving a population of 1.53 million in an area of 389 square miles.
The order of Deacon enables them to perform certain key duties within the parish, including the baptism of new Christians. Deacons will then normally spend a year working as an assistant to a vicar before the Bishop ordains them to the priesthood when they are also able to celebrate Holy Communion and conduct marriages.
Ordination is an important and ancient part of the Church of England. The tradition stretches back to the early Christian church and it recognises the importance of having ministers who can, through the way they conduct their lives, point others to the love and fellowship of Jesus.
Those ordained have all felt a strong call to offer themselves to God’s service. This call has been examined and tested and the Ordinands have then undergone rigorous education in biblical and theological studies as well as the practicalities of being a minister in today’s Church of England.
Bishop Richard Blackburn is the second most senior clergyman in the Diocese of Liverpool and also chair of the Diocesan Board of Education. He said, “It is extremely encouraging to see this many people, from so many different backgrounds, called to ordained ministry in the Diocese of Liverpool. It shows that people do find church extremely relevant in today’s society. I wish them every blessing as they engage in sharing the Good News of His love and hope. God has clearly called a very talented group of Deacons who will make an immense contribution to the lives of their local communities.”