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Meet the rest of our new Deacons for 2020

by Michael Ford last modified 28 Sep, 2020 04:04 PM

On Saturday 26th September, 14 new deacons will be ordained by Bishop Nicholas in 2 groups of 7 in our Cathedral during services at 9.00am and 11.00am.

They include trained scientists, a plumber, and several former nurses and carers.

Their hobbies include skiing, bushcraft, ballet, and slacklining (tightrope walking on a length of webbing).

Lockdown and government restrictions meant these ordinations were delayed from early summer and so the curates were licensed by Zoom as lay workers so they could serve in their parishes and move into their new homes.

Last week, we met 6 of them, and we meet the rest this week.

Meet our new Deacons for 2020- Helen Williams

One of our most scientifically-qualified candidates, Dr Helen Williams has been a research astrophysicist and Physics teacher, and now has a more open brief.

Originally at Blandford Parish Church, and after a long placement at St Mary’s Ferndown while she trained at Sarum College, she is being posted to Wareham.

Her skills and experience of teamwork, working with young people, IT, and time management means she has plenty of options open for future work and ministry.

Asked for her immediate priorities, she says succinctly, "Talking to lots of people about Jesus", and that she is "Awaiting direction from God - whatever God calls me into."

The proud owner of Clover the cat, Helen has 3 grown up children and 2 small grandchildren, and enjoys running, playing clarinet and birdwatching.

Meet our new Deacons for 2020- Ali Alexander

Former nurse Ali Alexander hails from Christ Church Creekmoor, and has been a support to the worship team, as well as being part of the leadership team as a Lay Pastoral Assistant.

She says:

"I was a Nurse Practitioner/ Matron for 33 years, focussed in a hospital setting. I specialised in Gastroenterology, which included working as a cancer nurse and training as an Endoscopist."

Trained in communication, management, leadership, pastoral care, crisis management and end of life care, she says:

"Having a long NHS career I am open to options, but my main focus is to learn the role of a parish priest. No particular idea where, but unlikely to be inner city!"

Married with 2 adult daughters that live at home part-time, Ali enjoys walking, cycling, swimming, skiing, and cooking. She has an extensive background and knowledge of music, instruments and worship styles to bring to her posting at Salisbury St Thomas and St Edmund.

She is looking forward to "Meeting the church and listening to God -

And completing a tax return, as this is new territory for me!"

Meet our new Deacons for 2020- Caroline Spindlow with husband Mark and dogs

Caroline Spindlow is a young 62.

"I certainly look and act younger!" she smiles.

Her ministry developed in All Saints West Lavington, as she took on the roles of Lay Worship Leader, Home Group Leader and Breakfast Church Leader.

A former sales rep and Headteacher, Caroline says:

"I will be serving in the town of Warminster – the catchment area of Christ Church – and then where I feel called by God.

"I am looking forward to all the areas of being a curate, in particular leading services and talking to people about their beliefs. I am also very excited about being useful to Sambourne C of E Primary school and other Warminster schools and I have already enjoyed visiting some of the most elderly people in our community.

"I live with my Christian husband, Mark who is a quantity surveyor – we met on Christian Connections 12 years ago! Between us we have 4 wonderful children and 3 incredible, gorgeous grandchildren with 2 more on the way. Our eldest grandchild has just started school in Hertfordshire and we love hearing how she has got on each day.

"We both have a golden retriever dog – and fairly recently had 12 golden retriever puppies. I’m looking forward to being able to take one of the dogs with me when I am visiting those people that enjoy cuddling and patting them!"

Caroline and Mark love entertaining at home, and are working out how to welcome socially-distanced dinner guests. She says:

"I believe that all our life experiences help us to grow and are useful when we reflect on them, and my leadership skills and my background in education will be incredibly useful. I am very excited that at Christ Church we are planning to think through and discern the vision of the church for the future.

"And I am learning unexpectedly new skills – the Covid-19 pandemic has meant I have had to get to grips with a whole range of media to enable us to reach into our community and worship with our congregations!"

Meet our new Deacons for 2020- Helen Croud

Helen Croud is one of the youngest in this year's intake, at 35.

A Community Outreach Manager for the Shaftesbury Team ministry, she will be based in Bridport, and is excited at the thought of moving south.

She says:

"The parish I’m serving in is neither rural or urban. It’s a market town near the seaside!

"I can’t wait to get involved in all different styles of ministry. I’m most excited about being able to serve the people in Bridport in the Ways they need me.

"I have 3 wonderful daughters.

"They are all teenagers now and have been a huge encouragement throughout my training. This is not just been a sacrificial journey for me but for them as well, I’m extremely grateful for them for coming on the journey.

"I also have Teddy and Lola, my 2 little doggies that get involved in parish ministry as much as they’re allowed. They have already attended staff meetings and many Zoom meetings!

"Previously, I was a dental nurse, a business development coordinator, an administrator, and I worked for CAP. Everything on our journeys plays a part in our ministry.

She lights up when asked about hobbies:

"I love love love sports! Watching mainly. I have thought about taking up indoor bowls, or paddle boarding.

"I’ll be good at the parish quiz, as I’m extremely competitive and so take challenges and competitions very seriously!"

Trained at Cuddesdon, Helen says:

"There’s nothing like residential training to prepare you for parish ministry. Living in community was hard but I learnt so much from it.

"This year, I'm looking forward to learning, serving, and doing what God is called me to do!"

Meet our new Deacons for 2020- Katie Jackson

Katie Jackson was the Children and Families Worker at St James' Church Trowbridge, and was also involved with St Leonard's Keevil. Family-wise,

"I have a husband and 2 children, plus 1 cat -

and 40 fish!"

Katie is moving from town to country. Soon to be based at St Katherine's Holt, St Mary's Broughton Gifford and All Saints Great Chalfield, she says:

"I am looking forward to embracing everything this curacy has to offer in a rural benefice.

"I enjoy being in the great outdoors and spending time with family and friends. The outdoors is a place where I feel very close to God and is important in my own journey of faith. I like to encourage people to see God everywhere.

"As a result of my previous role, I have some experience of encouraging faith in children and supporting parents as they seek to raise their children in Christian homes. I enjoy collaborative working, and look forward to getting to know everyone in the Benefice and discovering what plans God has during these unprecedented times."

Meet our new Deacons for 2020- Sharon Boyle

A former Paediatric Nurse both here and abroad, Sharon Boyle, based at Wimborne Minster and the Wimborne Villages, is staying put.

She says:

"As a self-supporting minister, I will continue my part time role as a teaching assistant in a special school, spend one day a week at St Ann’s hospital in Poole with the Chaplaincy team and the rest of the time in parish.

Aged 47, Sharon is married to Christijan and has 2 teenage children as well as a dog, Willow.

Of the road to becoming a Deacon, she says:

"I've been journeying alongside people at different stages. Having followed the rural pathway at Sarum College, I moved to the Wimborne villages for the last 2 years of training and will continue to serve my curacy there.

"At Sarum College, I was part of the first group to focus on a rural ministry pathway, and it was a great community with people who will continue on this journey.

Sharon's interests include walking, reading and attending an adult ballet class, and says she looks forward to "The combination and privilege of ministering in different areas - parish, work, and the hospital."

Meet our new Deacons for 2020- Karen Franklin

Karen Franklin, 46, hails from Christ Church Creekmoor and has a pioneering spirit.

Headed for the urban Lantern Church in Merley, she is hot on mission and evangelism and is looking to break new ground.

She says:

"I'm looking forward to building links between the church and the local community, mission and evangelism, and enabling new Christians to engage with faith in a deeper way."

A former social worker specialising in mental health, Karen knows the importance of work-life balance, not least as her family consists of husband Neil, 4 children, and dogs Poppy and Lola.

She says:

"I love walking my dogs and I love the beach. I also love puddings, especially with custard!"

Her community work experience, pastoral skills and desire to be a Pioneer Minister have been fostered by her training at Moorlands Bible College (a BA (Hons) in Leadership and Applied Theology) and Sarum College (an MA in Ministry and Mission).

Karen says:

"I loved training at both Moorlands and Sarum. Moorlands gave me the biblical foundation to my ministry and Sarum helped me to reflect upon where and how God is working in those around me."

Meet our new Deacons for 2020- Matt Smith

'People-person' Matt Smith, 49, is a tradesman with a deeply spiritual side, and will travel west from Canford Magna and Bearwood to St Nicholas & St Huberts, Corfe Mullen.

He says:

"I've been a plumber since age 16, from boilers & ballcocks to Bibles and blessings! My plumbing business meant working in peoples homes, meeting and building relationships with a huge variety of people. I gained a real compassion for the elderly, as I often sat and drank tea with them, sharing our lives, 'wasting time for the Lord'. I felt a real respect and responsibility towards them in their vulnerability.

"I also spent a lot of time on building sites, enjoying the banter and the grit of real life."

Family life is busy. Matt says:

"My wife Lisa loves to gossip the gospel, her love for Jesus is infectious, get within 2 metres of her and you may find your life altered!

"Our son Jordan (age 24) is getting married to Rowena next July and it is hoped that I will be marrying them.

"Our son Macaulay (age 22) loves cars and surfing, and is usually a very fit healthy young man but has recently suffered a brain haemmorhage and has spent 3 weeks in Southampton. He is now in Poole Hospital, recovering and regaining strength. He lives with us in our curacy house."

Nevertheless, Matt knows how to look after his wellbeing, enjoying walking, fishing, bushcraft, kayaking, gardening, and eating and drinking with friends.

He says:

"Walking and fishing help to balance me and give me time to think, I love to watch nature and to be quiet with my own thoughts from time to time. I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2018 alone, 500 miles in 26 days."

Life has been a walk with God, Matt says:

"Wherever God guides me, I have always lived and served in areas that are urban yet almost rural, looking to serve all God's people, but have had a special interest in men's ministry. I'm looking forward to working in schools, getting to know the community of Corfe Mullen, building new friendships, Jordan and Ro’s wedding, and Macaulay's recovery."

Having enjoyed the mix of theology and practical training at Sarum College - and a 2-week placement at St Paul's Cathedral - like the rest of us, Matt wants to see an end to Covid restrictions:

"I just want to get on with some normality without constantly having to hold back because of these dangers."

The restrictions also mean the services are limited to 30 people and so family friends and parishioners will join in via streaming.


Please pray for our new Deacons:

Alison Alexander (Salisbury St Thomas and St Edmund)
Sharon Boyle (Wimborne Minster and the Wimborne Villages)
Adrian Burholt (Wellsprings)
Helen Croud (Bridport)
Karen Franklin (Canford Magna)
Katie Jackson (Broughton Gifford, Great Chalfield and Holt St Katharine)
Gerry Lynch (Devizes St John and St Mary)
Leila Mather (Charminster, Stinsford and the Chalke Stream villages)
Matt Smith (Corfe Mullen)
Caroline Spindlow (Warminster Christ Church)
Sally Taylor (Hamworthy)
Nick Webb (St Aldhelm)
Nick Wells (Wimborne Minster and the Wimborne Villages)
Helen Williams (Wareham)

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