The diocese welcomes seven new deacons and three new priests who will be ordained at the annual Petertide Ordinations this weekend.
The special service, which will be led by Archbishop John Davis, will be held at St Mark’s Church, Gold Tops, Newport on Saturday 29th June at 11am.
Friends and family are sure to fill the church as they share this special day with the ordinands as they embark on this next exciting part of their ministry.
How does someone who was happy and content ambling along leading worship, teaching children about Jesus through music in church and Primary schools end up the road to ordination?
I have a passion for all things creative including, drawing, sewing, constructing stage scenery and costumes. At times these activities were much to my family’s annoyance, as our garage was and still is full of all things supporting these activities – so no room to tuck the car away at night.
Music was the beginning of my relationship with God. At the ripe old age of 14, I stood at the front of my church with my Christmas present, a new-fangled instrument called a ‘guitar’ with butterfly stickers all over it, and my legs shaking. It was the first time I had lead worship and I discovered a surge of excitement as I found God in that moment, it was then he became real to me. It was no longer just words to sing but an affirmation of my faith, acknowledging the Holy Spirit working in me. I have found ministry through music to be a rollercoaster of a ride, from doubt, acceptance, back to doubt and many questions – was I doing what God wanted me to do? The years trundled along and I met my husband to be, and we married and were blessed with two children. Unfortunately, my husband was no musician, but soon became an expert in carrying all my instruments!
As a family we embarked on a time of testing of our faith over the years to follow. During those years we were blessed to be able to work with families, children and the elderly and with fellow Christians from other denominations. I enjoyed praying, teaching and talking about Jesus with children, as I was on their wave length – the same mental capacity. I thought I would be happy doing this forever, but God had a different plan. Circumstances changed and challenges in my faith in Christ came to the forefront. It was time to discern Gods call on my life. I entered into a time of increasing conversations with God. Through support and prayer with family and dear friends, including Christian and nonChristian, I was helped to affirm what God was directing me to. It is through this discernment, a few years of theological studies, placements within the Diocese, meeting and working with very supportive incumbents and congregations that has resulted in me being where I am today. Namely, looking forward with excitement and trepidation to the next stage in my journey with Christ in the Cwmbran Benefice.
Hi, my name is Heulwen. I’m a Valleys “girl” born and bred. Have you ever experienced a time where you think you have heard your name being called but when you turn around to see who’s calling there is no one there? Well, that’s what happened to me. After attending an Emmaus Way of Faith session the words you “lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139) kept reverberating around in my head. I also felt a physical weight pressing down on my head and shoulders. I did try to ignore it, but eventually I realised that it wasn’t going to go away. So, after a large glass of white wine, I shared my thoughts and feelings with my husband and then my journey to where I am now began. After forty years as a teacher, I feel I have served an apprenticeship for what I believe is the “Main Event.” So here I am –ready to serve! Dwi’n barod i’n gwasanaethu!
My experience of Church began when my sister and I were sent to Sunday school when I was five. I loved it from day one and always felt at home. I realised, even at that young age, that I had found something which was important in my life. I attended very regularly and I was totally committed. For a few years, starting when I was about nine, I regularly used to visit the only church which was open during the day, which was a super Roman Catholic Church, St Mary’s in Canton (Cardiff). There was always a priest on duty and he always asked if there was anything I needed from him. I explained that I just wanted to sit in the peace and quiet where I felt closer to God.
I was fortunate in that I have had some superb ministers, but the most influential person in my life was one of my Sunday School Teachers. As a teacher he was too kind and as such he had very little discipline, which of course is bad news for a teacher. However, he had such a wonderful faith and trust in God and Christ, that I realised that he had something which I needed in my life. I was baptised when I was fifteen, which was an amazing, extremely emotional experience, which I can remember today as if it was yesterday.
I stopped attending church when I was a teenager, when I made the common mistake of not being able to reconcile something which had happened in my life, with an ever – loving God. However, when I started attending again, I believe that my faith was even stronger.
I first felt very strongly called to be ordained some time ago. I discussed it with the rector at the time, Rev. Mark Lawson – Jones, and he helped me and also invited me to join the clergy team and I have been assisting in and taking services from that time. I am so looking forward to my ordination.
Over the last 3 years I have been training full-time at St Padarn’s Cardiff which has been a joy and privilege. In the summer of my first year I got married to Katy who is a freelance artist, meaning the walls of our house are never going to be empty.
Over my time training and in the years prior I have worshipped and worked in a wide range of spectrum of Anglicanism. This has resulted in people getting confused looks when they ask which part of the Church I ‘belong to’. Helping people to meet with and worship God in whatever way works has always been far more important to me than pigeon-holing myself into one particular stream of Anglicanism.
Prior to training I was part of the first intake of the Holywell Community in Abergavenny, and before that was studying Robotics in Reading. If that makes you think I’m into Sci-fi, you’d be very right. In my free time you’ll find me watching films, producing music and generally building things/doing DIY (that engineering itch has never gone away).
I’m very excited to be serving God in the Magor Ministry Area, there is already so much going on, and to see what He has in store for us in the coming years.
I’m married to Soraya and we have three children, Ethan who is 18, Zara, 13 and Yasmin, 10. I spent part of my childhood in South Africa. My Dad was an electrical engineer who worked on different projects in Europe and Africa and in 1976 we moved permanently to Durban. It was during our time in South Africa that I became a Christian. We moved back to Wales in the 1980’s.
My relationship with Jesus really began to grow in my mid-twenties after a powerful encounter with him through a worship service. I realised deep down his love for me and that he had a plan for my life that I should really get on board with. That led me on a journey over the last twenty-five years that has taken in short-term
overseas missions trips, voluntary and employed youth work, teaching religious education, schools lay chaplaincy and now ordination. I’m really looking forward to the next part of this journey, knowing and trusting that, step by step he will continue to be with me and my family.
I grew up in Hertfordshire and was sent to church from an early age by non-church-going parents. There I discovered a welcoming, loving and nurturing community and developed a passion for children’s work, Fairtrade and the homeless which I shared with my husband Paul, whom I have been married to for 27 years.
16 years ago, when our daughter Naomi was 3 years old, we felt called to Wales and moved to South Wales, unsure what to expect. We found a welcoming, loving and sharing community and have fallen in love with the Valleys. I now consider myself to be adopted Welsh and can’t think of living anywhere else.
Before being ordained I was a nurse for 22 years and since moving to South Wales, I have worked as a District Nurse. Caring for people in their homes has given me a real passion for seeing healing and reconciliation in our communities.
Being called to ordained ministry came as a surprise although many who know me said it was not a surprise to them. They now refer to me as the “vicar of Dibley” not just because I am short, rounder than I should be and have a weakness for Crunchies but also because I am accepting of others, open and honest, approachable and loving, joyful in all I do and have a good sense of humour. I am looking forward to using these gifts in my future ministry in the Upper Islwyn MA.
I have lived in the Raglan Area for over 20 years as I have pursued my ambitions to be a professional event rider. I managed to get to the highest stage competing at Badminton, Burghley and Pau competing against the likes of Zara Phillips, Mary King and William Fox Pitt, not with their success I might add! Riding horses brings me closer to God and also helps me to expect the unexpected as nothing ever quite happens as you expect.
I have been married to my husband Miles Kennah for 25 years, which always confuses people as I have kept my maiden name because Ryder seemed appropriate with the horses! It was Miles who some years ago planted the seed of my calling when he informed me “he was going to be a vicars wife!”
The blessing of our 8-year-old son Rueben brought us closer to God and it was the start of my journey in ministry. I have had the privilege of being under the watchful eye of Canon Rev’d Tim Clement for the last 6 years, with this training formalised when I became an ordinand. This last year I have been studying full time at St Padarns as I endeavour to finish my Theology degree. I have been blessed to be part of Raglan Ministry Area with all the love, prayers and support they, and the Deanery have given me on this journey.
I will be starting as a curate in Chepstow MA under Philip Avery and we joke that Reggie our Spaniel puppy will also be in training under Philip’s spaniel Dunstan, who always likes to welcome the parishioners in Chepstow. I believe God uses our experiences, so I think my ministry may still involve horses one way or another.
Here I am, explaining to the congregation at Tobias’ Baptism (pictured), that just as our finger prints are unique, so are we, perfectly designed by God to be part of his awesome creation, telling them that we have a responsibility to each other, to ourselves, and to God, to become the people He calls us to be. This has been a theme of my first year in ministry, as I have done my best to get to know people, to love them, to encourage them in their worship and their prayer lives, and to listen to their hopes and dreams for their communities and for themselves.
It has been a steep learning curve, with one or two mistakes, lots of laughter, and wonderful support from congregations, and team members. I am in no doubt that I have been scooped up and plopped down exactly where I am meant to be. I cannot describe for you how awesome that is.
This year has been made possible because of the support of my lovely family, by my care to pray often, and by remembering to rest. I cannot stress the value of all those things.
I am extremely excited about the next step – being ordained priest will allow me to build on what we have begun, helping to grow disciples through word and sacrament, and I am particularly glad to be able to do this amongst the faithful and encouraging people of the Wentwood Ministry Area. I have found it a huge privilege to minister to people in moments of intense need, and to also become known for my own particular brand of joyful, chaotic worship. The many facets of ministry are extreme, and the opportunity to witness God at work in them all is a constant source of amazement and deep deep joy. I wonder what the next years will bring?
My first year of ordination has been a rollercoaster of learning and deep enjoyment.
I have been welcomed with open arms into Cyncoed Ministry Area and feel settled in and at home. I have Wednesday morning 1984 service, services in the park, doing my Sundays ’rounds’ in the various churches, assisting at school eucharists and the occasional offices.
My family has grown with the addition of my son Orson just before Christmas which inspired the creation of “Little Adventurers” a new baby and toddler group running out of Cyncoed church. It’s been fun getting to know all the families that come to play and chat, especially as we have a group of regulars who keep coming back! It’s been exciting for me to really get stuck in at St David’s School as a governor and I’m starting up an after-school Church service for all the family at the beginning of July.
I look forward to what becoming a priest will mean and look like for myself and how God will guide me over the coming years.
Stephen Blewett, Newport East Ministry Area
Will be ordained as priest and will serve Newport East Ministry Area.