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Meet the new Priests for 2019

On Sunday 30 June, nine new priests are to be ordained at Coventry Cathedral. The new priests have already served as deacons for a year. On their ordination as priests they will remain in their present parishes while their on-going training continues. The service at Coventry Cathedral starts at 10.30am and is open to all. No tickets are needed, and everyone will receive a warm welcome at the main entrance of the Cathedral.

In the words of the ordination service:

"Priests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent. With their Bishop and fellow ministers, they are to proclaim the word of the Lord and to watch for the signs of God's new creation. They are to be messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord; they are to teach and to admonish, to feed and provide for his family, to search for his children in the wilderness of this world's temptations, and to guide them through its confusions, that they may be saved through Christ for ever. Formed by the word, they are to call their hearers to repentance and to declare in Christ's name the absolution and forgiveness of their sins."

Barry Coleman

Barry is a self supporting curate in the parishes of St Peter's, Wellesbourne and St James, Walton. His first year as an ordained minister has been very busy, as he preaches or leads worship most weeks. His greatest joy is running the Alpha course and seeing people come to a new faith, and he and his wife, Pat, have run two Alpha courses in the past year. They have also taken responsibility for baptism ministry, which in a growing village means about three baptisms a month at the moment. He says, “Looking back at my own life, I can see that God’s Holy Spirit was working in me. Even though I was baptised as a baby I grew up as an atheist, but God didn’t give up on me and called me to faith, and then to ministry in God’s church.” Barry strongly supports infant baptism, and drawing from his own experience, sees this ministry as life changing.

Sharon Crofts

Sharon is a half-time curate at Holy Trinity, Hartshill and St Peter’s Galley Common. She has settled into the rhythms of the two churches really well and is thoroughly enjoying getting to know the local communities and most especially the people. Sharon feels her first year has been a steep learning curve and she delights in looking forward to new learning to come. Highlights have been; supporting several families to explore infant baptisms and officiating at them, funeral ministry, plenty of pastoral visiting, hearing people’s wonderful stories, creating and delivering the Advent Sunday service, greeting the sunrise on Easter Day during a service on Hartshill Hayes, involvement in Messy Church, and Christmas and Easter ministry with local schools. She is also looking forward to being involved in a new Marriage Preparation course with other curates in her deanery.

Sharon is excited to be approaching priesthood and all that it will entail. She is especially keen to always be open to God’s call and to see God’s love and work flourish within her parish communities. She is most looking forward to presiding at Eucharists and continuing to walk alongside people as they journey through the ups and downs of life.

Alongside her curacy, Sharon will continue to work part time for the Chaplaincy Department at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust. She works in local communities with patients with chronic long term health conditions, patients receiving palliative care and people who are bereaved.

Jo Joyce

Jo is a curate at St Paul's Stockingford in Nuneaton. She has loved her first year in Stockingford and has settled into the parish well. She has made lots of new friends in the church and the community and has enjoyed tackling a somewhat overgrown allotment. Highlights of the year have included working with the four schools in the parish as well as the local nursery. It has been an amazing opportunity to work with the young people helping them to lead collective worship and welcoming year 10 to church as they prepared for their GCSE RE exam. Jo is looking forward to continuing to build these links with the schools in the future. 

Jo's first year of ministry has been busy as she gets to know the many different groups that meet at St Paul's. She has found it an amazing privilege to get to work with people in such a range of different situations. Ministry can be challenging, but it is such a blessing to be able to see people grow in faith and to walk with them through some of the most difficult and the most exciting times in life. She is really looking forward to sharing the Eucharist and developing the sacramental side of her ministry. 

Anita Morgan

Anita is a curate at St Nicholas Church in Warwick. Since her ordination as a deacon last year, Anita has greatly appreciated the hospitality and warm welcome into the church family by the congregation and her training incumbent at St Nicholas who have made her feel very much at home. She has loved experiencing parish life within the community of the church and beyond and seeing the amazing things God is doing in individuals in the parish and within the Warwick Team.

Highlights have been many. Anita has developed a deeper sacramental appreciation and particularly enjoyed serving as a deacon during Eucharist. Children's ministry has been a joy. She has enjoyed being part of the ecumenical team that has set up a new Messy Church.

Anita is a part-time, self-supporting curate and continues to work as a Consultant Paediatrician. Anita is very excited about all that churches can do and are doing to support local communities with physical and emotional health and wellbeing. She looks forward to getting more involved with this in the coming year. As a scientist, she is keen to communicate that science and faith are partners in understanding ourselves and our world. This year she joined the Society for Ordained Scientists and enjoyed their annual retreat. Science and Faith will be a prominent theme this autumn. Anita is organising a 'Science and Faith' weekend with St Nicholas Church and the Society for Ordained Scientists to coincide with Harvest celebrations on the 20-22nd September. Anita and St Nicholas Church is also partnering with the Genexis event that will take place at Coventry Cathedral.

Most of all, Anita hopes that in following God faithfully and in seeking to share his love, others may respond to God's invitation to love and life in all its fullness through Jesus Christ.

Esther Peers

Esther is a curate at Holy Trinity, Leamington. As a pioneer curate she has had two main areas of focus in her role. The first was to get to know Holy Trinity and learn the life and patterns of worship. She has really enjoyed getting to know the church community and serve them over the year. The second focus has been to look at news ways of worship and mission in the parish and set up a new gathering within the church's existing offerings.

The last year has offered a wide variety of experiences, from being involved in a large building project that is about to start, to leading the animal service. Highlights of the year have included getting to know some of the groups who meet in the local community, setting up and leading a new mid week prayer meeting and also the launch of a new contemporary worship service.

Esther has really enjoyed her year as a deacon at Holy Trinity and is very much looking forward to being able to serve the church and parish as a priest. She is excited to see what God has in store for the future.

Anne Richardson

Anne is a curate at St James Church, Styvechale. Since being ordained deacon she has been involved in developing mission and encouraging prayer before giving birth to the beautiful Ella Joy at the end of August. The past year has taken serving others to a new level! After returning from maternity leave Anne is looking forward to continuing to build relationships, encouraging the Church to draw near to God and share his love with the community. 

Jonathan Smith

Jonathan is a curate at St Marks Church, Bilton, Rugby. He is married to Vicky and has three children and a cockerchon called Daisy. Since being ordained last year Jonathan has thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the far reaching ministries of St Marks and engaging in the wider community of Bilton in a variety of ways.

Jonathan's highlights this year have included every demographic of the community from participating in the expansive schools ministries, having fun at monthly messy church, helping with the busy festive services that are celebrated by the wider community of Bilton, leading others into deeper connection with the Lord through quiet and tranquil services and taking communion to those living in the care homes of the parish. The upgrading of the church's audio visual equipment has been an exciting project to be involved with and promises to be a platform to grow the opportunities for St Mark's ministry and mission for the coming years.

Deepening connection with the Lord, for himself, his family and the church family and using that as a basis for connecting others both young and old, has confirmed in him a passion for discipling Christ centered communities. He is excited about what lies ahead!

Bill Walton

Bill is a curate at Holy Trinity, Coventry. He is married to Jayne and they have three grown-up children and five grandchildren. One of the biggest challenges over the past year is that whilst working part time as a curate, Bill has continued working full time in management. 

Being involved in a variety of services and getting to know the eclectic variety of people at Holy Trinity has been a very rewarding experience and Bill is enjoying feeling part of the church community.

A particular highlight of this year has been the ministry the home groups at Holy Trinity, known as Growth Groups. Working closely with two lay members of the church, Bill has taken on the responsibility of overseeing this part of church life, with the aim of developing new groups. Bill is very excited to have seen God do wonderful things in this area; with the number of established groups growing to fifteen and others starting soon.

Julie Watkins-Wollner

Julie is a part-time curate at St Catherine's Church in Stoke Aldermoor where she served previously as a Reader.

One of the highlights has been visiting a local care home monthly and making friends with the residents - one of whom refers to her as his 'dancing partner'. Relationships have grown to such an extent that the more mobile residents now attend the church's new afternoon tea.

Another highlight is being a voluntary chaplain for UHCW at the Caludon centre. Julie feels that her work there has been truly blessed as she is well supported by the chaplaincy team. She has seen prayers answered as a Morning Worship service has been set up for the patients with permission to leave the wards.

Leading funeral services is also something new in Julie's ministry and she has found this to be both a privilege and a humbling experience. She is looking forward to her first baptism and wedding services in the very near future.

One of the major highlights is being involved in the process that will lead to St Catherine's being rebuilt this year. God's promise to be with his faithful - shown so beautifully in the rainbow which appeared on the first blessing of the site several years ago, is now manifested through the extreme generosity of many, in physical bricks and mortar.

Julie comments "This is such a landmark in the history of this church and to serve here at this time is just so exciting. I am truly blessed."

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