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New ministers set to answer ‘calling’
Teachers, a physics graduate and a researcher into computing are among those joining the new clergy in ordination ceremonies next week.
The newly-appointed deacons come from all walks of life, and will now serve as curates in parishes across the Diocese of Oxford, which includes Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.
Among those being ordained is David Spence, 32, who is married with two young sons and previously worked in technology.
He said: “Before hearing God’s call to ministry I worked in computing research at Oxford University.”
Mr Spence, who will become deacon of the Shill Valley and Broadshire Benefice, covering 12 parishes in West Oxfordshire, added: “I have only moved into the parish in the last few days, and I’m really enjoying the rural life.
“I was born and grew up on Jersey, so I like being out in the countryside.
“I have been really welcomed. People have been coming to say hello, and I’m really excited to be serving the community. I look forward to bringing passion in following God and bring love to these people.”
New curate for Witney is Alastair Blaine, 33. He said: “I’ve been studying Ministry and Theology at Oxford Brooks University. It has really helped me prepare for the role I am taking on. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new people and building relationships. Witney’s a good place to do that.”
Mr Blaine believes that his previous occupation as a primary school teacher in Thatcham, near Reading, has prepared him for his new role.
He said: “Previously I was a primary school teacher and I had to listen to what people say and help them make sense of life, so I can take that into my new position and I look forward to listening to people in Witney and hearing their experiences.
“I am excited about the ceremony. I think it’s something you look forward to with trepidation. After the ordination you represent something else that’s not usually you.”
Emma Racklyeft, 34, previously a primary school teacher specialising in early years education, will be ordained for Thame Team Ministry.
She believes that her experience as a mother of two will help her in her new role.
She said: “As a mum I have a real love for people and care for people and have a lot of pastoral experience. I’m looking forward to being able to support people in good and bad times in their life. I feel this was something that God was calling me to do.”
Mrs Racklyeft has already taken steps in bringing the community together through her own initiative – ‘Messy Church’. She explained: “I brought the initiative from my old church in Milton Keynes.
“It involves a family session with creativity and playing and also worship time and a meal together. I wanted to bring this creativity to the parish.”
The ordination of 26 new members of the clergy will take place on Saturday at Christ Church Cathedral. The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, will be leading the ceremonies, which take place at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm.
Bishop John said: “It is always a great pleasure and privilege to ordain a new set of deacons.
“We are blessed in the Diocese of Oxford in having large numbers of able people offering themselves for ministry. This year’s cohort have many gifts and much to offer and I am delighted to be sending them out to serve our communities across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.”
See tomorrow’s Oxford Mail for two more interviews with ministers.
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