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Meet our new deacons for 2021

by Michael Ford last modified 25 Jun, 2021 12:33 PM

The pandemic isn’t stopping our nine new deacons from joining their parishes.

After spending most of their training under Covid conditions, our new deacons can’t wait to experience ministry and are delighted that their ordinations are going ahead despite restrictions not being lifted.

The nine candidates for ordination in the Diocese of Salisbury, who will serve one year as a Deacon before being ordained as a Priest, will be serving in a range of urban and rural parishes across Wiltshire and Dorset.

Last year, the Ordination of Deacons needed to be delayed until September because of lockdown, but this year they will go ahead at Salisbury Cathedral on Sunday 27th June at 11.00am, as would happen in a 'normal' year.

But the Ordinations of our Deacons and Priests will still be affected by Covid regulations and guidance, and the congregations at both services will be limited, with friends and many relatives having to watch online.

Candidates are allowed to bring close family members with them, but the large support groups that normally celebrate with the newly-ordained will be missing. Family, friends, and members of the parishes who want to be part of the ordinations will be able to go to the Cathedral website, and follow the link to watch the livestream.

Inside the Cathedral, the liturgy will be restricted in light of Church of England guidance, with limited processions and masks will be worn.

This will be the last ordination for the present Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam who is retiring on 3rd July after ten years’ service to the Diocese. The Ordination of Priests will also be at the Cathedral, at 4.30pm on Saturday 26th June.

Our Dorset Deacons for 2021 include a professional clarinet player and saxophonist, and someone who was staying in the same hotel Alexander Litvinenko when he was poisoned with polonium!

Steve Atkins       - Lower Stour Benefice: Spetisbury, Charlton Marshall, Blandford St Mary
Lindy Cameron  - Hilfield Friary
Oliver Fricker     - Hampreston, Poole
Jenny Nelson    - Three Valleys Benefice, Yetminister

Our Wiltshire Deacons for 2021 include a professional cook, and someone who boasts she can eat a whole packet of wine gums in one hour!

Mike Badger       - Harnham St George and All Saints
Holly Newton      - White Horse Benefice
Maggie Metcalfe - Wylye and Till Valley
Lisa Rodrigues   - Clarendon Benefice
Mary Terry          - Salisbury St Francis and St Lawrence Stratford Castle

Meet three of our Dorset deacons...

Dorset Deacon Oli Fricker

Oli Fricker - Hampreston

Oli Fricker hails from Dorking and working for the Church isn’t new to him. He has run a new ministry for young families, as well as being PCC Treasurer and helping out with preaching, leading services and taking school assemblies.

Hampreston will be familiar as it is a mix of urban and rural just outside Bournemouth and Poole, and Oli hopes to continue to work with young families. He trained at St Mellitus in London, and a background in finance has stood him in good stead for balancing the books.

Oli says:
"I was an analyst and consultant with the finance technology consultancy firm Metapraxis for 5 years. I ended up running the team that developed and managed the management information system used by the financial controller and worldwide finance team of a major FTSE100 company.

"I think being able to understand data and identify key patterns and trends and communicate these effectively will always be useful. I learnt lots about problem solving, leading a team, running projects and managing expectations that I’m sure will come in useful too!"

Married to Natacha, who is an early year’s teacher, the couple has three children aged five and under, and they love board games and country walks. Oli himself enjoys playing and watching sport and takes a keen interest in politics and current affairs.

Asked for a fun fact, he says: "I proposed to my wife on top of a church tower. We had to climb up quite a rickety ladder to get there!"

After ordination, he says: "I’m really looking forward to meeting lots of people and hearing their stories. I’m excited to discover what God has for us to do as a family in Ferndown and am excited most of all about sharing the good news about Jesus.

"I loved the diversity at St Mellitus and spending time with the huge range of amazing men and women God is raising up into ministry and leadership in his church.

"There has been lots of Zoom and we weren’t able to meet in person with other young families as much as would have been good to do. But it’s also given the opportunity to learn new skills and try new things.

"I’ve enjoyed getting better at doing creative recorded talks and we were able to run some socially-distance, table-based family services that worked really well in helping parents and their children worship and pray together."

Ha also shared an insight with his roommate. Oli says: "He had hesitated about exploring ordination because he thought vicars needed to be steady introverts like me, and that I had hesitated because I though vicars needed to be sensitive extroverts like him. So, God calls all sorts of people.

"Don’t rule yourself out because of your personality type!"

Dorset Deacon Jenny Nelson

Jenny Nelson - Three Valleys Benefice, Yetminster

Jenny Nelson is moving south. A former Children and Youth Minister and Serving Team member of Salisbury Cathedral, Jenny will serve her curacy in the Three Valleys Benefice in Dorset.

Jenny, who will be serving the 18 churches that make up the Benefice said:

"I am keen to deepen my knowledge and experience of environmental issues and am looking forward to responding to the call to serve to renew hope and sustain our ‘common home’. I look forward to listening to and enabling the voices of young people in this."

Married to Howard, with two children at university and a cat at home, Jenny trained as a professional clarinet player and saxophonist at the Royal Academy of Music and has already had a freelance career with a number of orchestras, before retraining and taking teaching roles in boarding schools, and currently teaches Music and RS at Sherborne Girls.

The family loves visiting art galleries, and Jenny herself, a keen photographer, loves walking, visiting all kinds of churches, and gardening - all useful for when she volunteered alongside the young people's charity Rise:61 in the Bemerton Estate in north-west Salisbury.

Jenny says:

"I have a love of local walks in Dorset and Wiltshire. I am looking forward to joining with the Benefice, walking alongside and learning from the fantastic ministry team, and spending time getting to know and serving the people of the Three Valleys Benefice.

"Unusual fact: I am a twin! My twin and I, alongside our older sister, were adopted together (to our parents) through the Church Adoption Society from a young age and baptised by our father’s surrogate uncle in his curacy."

Jenny is already serving as a member of the Sudans-Link Committee and Education Committee, is looking forward to worship at Hilfield Friary and Sherborne Abbey and has resigned herself to navigating with livestock on country roads.

How has Covid affected her ministry so far? "Challenging. Loss and bereavement stays with us, as it does for so many. However, it has been also exciting to look objectively and positively at how the Church of England can respond to the call for a mixed mode of worship (in the church building and in digital mission) and ways of belonging in the church in changing contemporary contexts.

"Personally, I am looking forward to seeing how God calls us for His ministry and mission for discipleship in church and community together, as the body of Christ.

"In the rural church community and its surrounding communities, there can often be as many hidden or invisible needs as those visible in an urban parish. In walking together, in breaking bread together, whether SSM*, stipendiary**, or other shapes of ministry, I would encourage all those exploring vocation to discern how and where God calls you to."

* 'Self Supporting Minister' refers to ministry that is gifted by the ministers themselves
** 'Stipendiary' refers to a ministry funded by the Church through parish share.

Dorset Deacon Steve Atkins

Steve Atkins - Pioneering Curate, Lower Stour Benefice, Wimborne

Steve Atkins is headed for pioneering work in Lower Stour Benefice near Wimborne.

He will also be continuing as part of the leadership team of the Point, a Fresh Expression of Church with a Bishop's Missional Order that meets in a cafe in Wimborne town centre.

Steve has been attending the Lantern Church in Merley.

Married to an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, with an adult daughter who teaches Sociology and Psychology at A Level, he worked in finance for 17 years before starting a renewables installation company, and currently works for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.

He says:

"I trained at Sarum College and enjoyed the opportunity to reflect theologically. Covid has opened up new possibilities for connecting, and I'm looking forward to new opportunities to make God possible for people who might not have given it a thought.

"God is where God wills."

Asked for an unusual fact, Steve says: "I was staying in the hotel that Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in and tested positive for polonium contamination!"


Now meet two of our Wiltshire deacons...

Wiltshire Deacon Holly Newton

Holly Newton - White Horse Benefice

Wiltshire Deacon Holly Newton will not be moving too far when she begins her curacy in the White Horse Benefice - she served as a Lay Worship Leader at St James' Trowbridge and also trained there as an ordinand.

A professional cook and educator with a love of hosting and hospitality, she is eager to learn more about inclusive church.

Holly says:
"I love baking and cooking. Having changed to a gluten-free diet, I am having fun experimenting with gluten-free baking.

"I was self-employed, making cakes for local cafes and giving talks and workshops on historical cookery. Prior to having children, I worked at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath as Groups and Education Co-ordinator.

"I've been working with volunteers, managing periods of change, creativity and flexibility, working with a wide range of people of different ages and backgrounds, public speaking.

"I have a keen interest in working to make church accessible for those with additional needs with the aim of working to enable the use of their gifts and for every voice to be heard.

"I am currently trying to learn Makaton signing!"

With husband Tom, two children, two guinea pigs, a cat, and a Shih Tzu puppy about to arrive, time management is a crucial skill - as is self-care. Thankfully, Holly has a range of interests to choose from. "In my first year at university, I studied performing arts and I enjoy learning and teaching dance routines for worship songs.

"I also enjoy walking, crochet, spending time with family and friends, reading, writing poetry and learning about social history, and I’m attempting to learn about gardening! My favourite place to go on holiday is the Highlands of Scotland."

How has Covid affected her ministry so far?
"It has meant I have needed to be adaptable and creative during training. It has also engendered some very deep relationships with folk in church who I have been speaking with regularly on the phone.

"Deep questions have arisen in many people which I believe we will need to engage with. The importance of relationships and presence has been brought to the forefront."

Having enjoyed the depth, challenge and diversity of her time at Sarum College, and happy to serve in either a rural or urban parish, Holly says:

"I'm most looking forward to getting to know everyone in the White Horse Benefice, getting involved in the life of the churches, learning from my new Benefice and sharing the love of God.

"As the song goes, ‘God is good all of the time, and all of the time God is good!’ God is faithful to bless when we say yes to Him! So, if you are wondering whether God might have a particular calling for you, say yes to exploring.

"The loving Lord Jesus will be by your side all the way!"

Wiltshire Deacon Mary Terry

Mary Terry - Salisbury St Francis and St Lawrence Stratford Castle

Following work in the hospitality sector and management, former churchwarden Mary Terry is stepping out into a new career aged 58.

She will move parish within the city of Salisbury, from Laverstock to St Francis and St Lawrence, mere 100s of metres away.

Up for almost anything, and happy to serve in rural and urban areas alike, Mary is looking forward to meeting lots of new people and discovering their stories. She would like to:

"Explore all that God is doing in a varied parish encompassing traditional, family friendly, fresh expressions... Covid changed the shape of my training and forced me to learn new ways of communication – along with technology.

"I was at Sarum College in Salisbury – such a sense of history and prayer in the Cathedral Close. I loved the Biblical Studies.

"I have useful skills to offer, such as looking after people’s physical and emotional needs, organising events and administration."

Married to Nigel, Mary's hobbies include walking, sewing, reading, talking and eating with friends: "listening, drawing threads together, walking in God’s creation to relax and unwind."

Fun fact? "I can eat a large packet of wine gums in one hour!"

Does anything faze her? "Trying to remember names and faces, when mine is known!"

Reflecting on her journey so far, Mary adds:

"To be in the place where you believe God has called you to be is the most exhilarating experience – terrifying and wonderfully fulfilling. There's no other place I’d rather be. The new friendships forged along the way are awe-inspiring and life-long.

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