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Meet the new deacons for 2017
07/06/17

On Sunday 2 July, nine new deacons are to be ordained at Coventry Cathedral. The new deacons have undertaken a course of study and training, and following their ordination they will serve as curates (assistant ministers) while their training continues. As deacons they will lead worship and carry out pastoral and teaching work.

In the words of the ordination service:

"Deacons are called to work with the Bishop and the priests with whom they serve as heralds of Christ's kingdom. They are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, as agents of God's purposes of love. They are to serve the community in which they are set, bringing to the Church the needs and hopes of all the people. They are to work with their fellow members in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible.

Deacons share in the pastoral ministry of the Church and in leading God's people in worship. They preach the word and bring the needs of the world before the Church in intercession. They accompany those searching for faith and bring them to baptism. They assist in administering the sacraments; they distribute communion and minister to the sick and housebound.

Deacons are to seek nourishment from the Scriptures; they are to study them with God's people, that the whole Church may be equipped to live out the gospel in the world. They are to be faithful in prayer, expectant and watchful for the signs of God's presence, as he reveals his kingdom among us."

Adam Tams
Adam Tams

Adam is to be deacon in the parish of St Paul's, Leamington Spa. Adam grew up first in Cheshire and then in the Lake District before moving to Bristol in 2009. He has worked in a number of different fields (including running a petrol station!) before spending 5 years at Christ Church Clifton - in Bristol - where he spent most of his time as their operations manager. He sensed a calling to ordination at a very early age and although the road hasn't always been straightforward, he has known (particularly in retrospect!) God's continued hand over the journey and timing. He strongly sensed, firstly a call out of Bristol diocese for curacy, then to Coventry diocese, and latterly to St Paul's, and is excited by what God will do in and through him in this next stage. Adam is married to Jess and they have a young son, Jacob (born Dec 2016) and a dog, Sammy. Adam is a keen musician, having taught Piano part time for many years, and loves to read and/or watch Poirot mysteries!

Alex Williams
Alex Williams

Alex is to be deacon in the Edgehill benefice of parishes, (Kineton, Combroke, Radway, Ratley, Shotteswell and Warmington) following her residentiary training at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. With her husband Richard (currently Vicar of Alveston) Alex has three adult sons and a teenage daughter. Prior to ordination training, Alex worked as a Speech and Language Therapist across Children's Centres and Early Years settings in Warwickshire. Alex has had a sense of a vocation from an early age, has found her time training for ministry an enormous privilege, and looks forward to what this next chapter of ministry will bring. She enjoys being creative, has a passion for singing and is keen to explore ministry and worship with the communities she will serve as a deacon.

Alycia Timmis
Alycia Timmis

Alycia is to be deacon at The Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick. She is passionate about the Eucharist, creative and contemplative spiritualities, pilgrimage, rural ministry and the intersections of faith, culture and the arts. Born and raised in the United States, Alycia attended College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit university in Worcester, Massachusetts; where she read English and Theatre (BA Hons). This was followed by her MA (Text & Performance) and PhD (English) at The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. As a Shakespeare scholar, Alycia held a range of academic posts including, Assistant Professor of Shakespeare Studies at New York University (NYU); Fellow, The Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, DC, USA) and Associate Scholar of The Royal Collection Trust, Windsor Castle. She's the author of a number of books on Shakespeare and drama, including a Shakespeare cookbook! Most recently, as Education & Visitor Development Officer at St Mary’s, she curated "Shakespeare 400: History, Heritage & Faith", a major exhibition of the Shakespeare First Folio and The King James Bible. The journey to ordination and ministry has been quite an adventure. As the daughter of a Deacon, School Sunday Superintendent (Dad) and Church Choir Director (Mum), Christian faith has always been a vital part of her life. Alycia first felt a sense of calling whilst still at school. During university, she had a vivid dream of celebrating the Eucharist -- something that neither part of her Catholic and Southern Baptist upbringing would allow! This dream led her to the Church of England, and ultimately to training at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford. Alycia is married to Mark, they live in Barford, and are the doting parents of Miles Jude Willoughby, aged 3.

Liz Harris
Liz Harris

Liz Harris will be an OLM deacon in the Caludon Team. She will be based at Holy Cross Church, where she has worshipped for many years. She has held a variety of lay leadership roles, including 12 years as Churchwarden. She is really interested in contemplative prayer and in liturgy, and planning services which help people engage with God. Liz took early retirement after 35 years teaching in Coventry primary schools, most recently in Willenhall. She has really missed the pupils, their parents and her colleagues, but not the ever increasing paperwork. Retirement enabled her to seriously respond to the call to ordained ministry she had felt for many years. She has studied part-time at Queens Foundation, Birmingham for the past two years, and enjoyed the challenge of academic work as a learner rather than a teacher. Liz has been married to Mick for 40 years, and they have three adult children. They enjoy caravanning, and taking their messerschmitt to micro-car rallies. Liz has started to play the flute again after a very long break, and tries to stay fit by jogging (very slowly) and swimming. Liz is grateful to all those who have supported her through the long period of discernment and training, and is looking forward to the next phase of ministry with a real sense of excitement. 

Lizzy Holland
Lizzy Holland

Lizzy is to be deacon at St John Baptist Church, Berkswell. She grew up in Sutton Coldfield and has always had a passion for the Midlands. In 2009 Lizzy went to Durham University to study theology and, after completing her degree, came back to the Midlands to take up a post as a Children and Family Worker at St Chad's Church, Lichfield. It was there that she met and married her husband, Mitch. During her time there Lizzy grew in a passion for sharing the gospel with people of all ages, and exploring creative ways to engage with and support families in their journey of life and faith. In 2015 Lizzy began her training for ordination at St Mellitus, London on a mixed mode track, studying an MA in Contemporary Christian Leadership alongside her work at St Chad's. Lizzy is very excited to be moving to Berkswell, and working with her husband again as he is the Director of Music there. She is looking forward to developing links with the local community, especially with young families.

Noel Phillips
Noel Phillips

Noel is to be deacon at St Michael’s, Stoke. Noel is a Chemistry teacher at King Henry VIII School in Coventry, where he has been for the last 17 years. He came to teaching after his PhD in Environmental Science. The environment and creation have continued as strong themes throughout his life. He is currently completing his Diploma of Theology at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, where he has been training part-time. In the past he has been a member of several churches, most recently worshipping at Berkswell. He has held various PCC positions, including five years as church treasurer, and he was chairman of the committee which instigated the Hampton festival, now in its 7th year.  His passions include education, justice, ethics and the beauty of God’s world, which unsurprisingly he brings to ministry from his previous experience. At Cuddesdon he has found planning services and working on inspiring worship using a range of experiences to bring people closer to God as particular areas which he wishes to explore further. Recently, he has become very focused on how we encourage young families to engage with the church and particularly how it can relate to fathers. Noel has been married to Jenny for 19 years and they have two children, Ellie (3) and Thomas (2). The whole family are looking forward to the challenges and joys associated with coming to live and work at Stoke St Michael’s. Please pray for them as they plan to move to the area.

Phil Richardson
Phil Richardson

Phil is to be deacon at St Andrew's, Eastern Green. Phil grew up in Croydon before attending the University at Reading to study Sociology. At the end of the first term, he became a Christian whilst in Australia, returned to Reading and quickly became involved with the Christian Union on campus as well as the local churches. After this, Phil moved to Coventry and was placed with St John’s Westwood church as a volunteer with Friends International- a Christian charity involved in outreach to international students. Shortly after arriving in Coventry Phil met his now wife Anne and both of them have spent time on the staff team at Westwood Church running Form, a transformational discipleship gap year for young adults. Phil felt a strong call to ordination that originated through an experience of hearing God's voice at Hereford Cathedral in 2011, and trained for ordination at St Mellitus College. Phil and Anne live on Bannerbrook Park with their two cats. They like watching films, playing games, takeaway curries and developing community.

Rupert Allen
Rupert Allen

Rupert is to be an OLM deacon at Chilvers Coton with Astley. Born in Kent and brought up in Kent and Somerset, Rupert went to university in Worcester and Brighton. He worked for two years as a secondary school teacher before joining the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)’s Education Department in an administrative capacity. Admitted as a Reader in 1998, he also served for ten years as the Honorary Registrar of Readers. In 2003, he joined the Diocesan Staff in the Coventry office as Assistant DAC Secretary for both Dioceses of Coventry and Leicester. Since 2004 he has been part of the team of Honorary Vergers at Coventry Cathedral. He was asked to transfer to the Leicester Diocesan Office in June 2012 as DAC Secretary for that Diocese. He is also responsible for overseeing the Diocesan Database. Rupert trained part-time at The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham. After ordination, Rupert will be retaining his role as DAC Secretary & Database Manager for the Diocese of Leicester. He has been married to Sally for twenty-eight years and they have two daughters – Bethany and Abbie (Helen). Rupert enjoys classical music, reading and visiting historic buildings.

Tom Eagles
Tom Eagles

Tom is to be deacon at St Mark's, Swanswell. Tom grew up in Guldford before moving to Southampton in 1997 to study full time. He joined the Royal Air Force in 2000, serving a variety of tours in the UK and overseas. Tom eventually resettled in the south east of England and has spent the past 7 years worshipping at Soul Survivor Church in Watford. Tom left the military in 2014 and began his ordination mixed-mode training, studying at St Mellitus College London while working at Soul Survivor Watford. Having sensed the call to Coventry, Tom is now looking forward to joining in with what God is already doing and to seeing what is going to happen as St Mark's is reopened! Tom is married to Charlotte and they have two young boys. They love the great outdoors and have a particular heart for church planting, evangelism and building committed community.

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