Four priests, who have served as deacons for a year in the Leeds Episcopal Area, were ordained in Leeds Minster last weekend by Bishop Nick.
Read their stories below.
Ben Randall serves as assistant curate at Pudsey Parish Church
Husband to Rebekah, father of Poppy; Ben has been serving as the assistant Curate of St Lawrence, Pudsey. He says, "Although I'm no stranger to West Yorkshire, I didn’t know this particular little corner - and it's been wonderful! I've especially enjoyed regularly preaching and teaching, and just generally exercising my official license to talk incessantly about God, Jesus and the Bible. Please pray in particular for my gifts in this area to grow so they might match my enthusiasm, that I will become a more persuasive, effective communicator of the wonderful Good News that uniquely transforms and saves."
Sharon Brown serves Abbeylands Team Ministry
My first ten months at St Margaret’s have flown by and I feel truly blessed by God to be there. In the early days, when I knew very few people, the congregation were gracious enough to tell me their names however many times I asked. Today I often meet and chat with people I know in the streets of Horsforth, and feel part of that community.
One wonderful thing about being a curate is that people expect you to talk about God and, by God’s grace, I have had some amazing conversations with a wide range of people. Praying with those who are sick or dying, and with their families and friends, has been a huge privilege, and it has been a surprise to me how quickly relationships can be built with the relatives of people whose funeral I have conducted.
Baptisms have been joyous occasions, and spending time with parents who want their children baptised and discovering the plethora of reasons for this decision has been interesting - although I admit to feeling rather mean if the child cries when being baptised!
I am extremely grateful for the wonderful support I have received from the Revd Nigel Sinclair, clergy colleagues and all at St Margaret’s, and for the warm welcome they have given my family. I am very thankful for the support of my children, who have had many adjustments to make, and of my parents who rearrange their lives when necessary, allowing me to be where I need to be.
Mark Harlow serves Leeds St George’s Team Ministry
Last June, I moved to Leeds to serve a curacy at St George’s from Cambridge with my wife, Kathryn and two children, Toby (4) and Isobel (3). We have enjoyed settling into Leeds and have had a very warm welcome. The highlights of my time so far have been numerous; appearing on BBC One on Christmas Day dressed as a turkey, baptising 16 adults along with seeing and hearing about people grow in their faith in Jesus Christ. The most memorable ‘low’ has been getting locked in St George’s Crypt before our Light Party in November dressed as a banana. The looks I got from some Crypt residents when a six foot banana knocked on the other side of a locked door were priceless.
Over the coming months and years, I look forward to continue serving God in my vocation at St George’s, gaining further experience of ministry, mission and leadership and exploring what God’s will is for our family in the future.
Vivien Masters serves Kippax and Allerton Bywater
I trained for ordination for three years at the Yorkshire Ministry Course in Mirfield. It was a great experience, and it was a very rich time for me spiritually, and I enjoyed working alongside those of other traditions, although I found this challenging at times.
I was ordained in July 2014, It was a wonderful day, and the ordination itself felt absolutely right. I am serving my curacy in the parish of Allerton Bywater,Kippax and Swillington. It’s a great parish to be in; the people are really friendly and welcoming.
I love preaching regularly and I lead an alternative worship service every few month’s that’s been really exciting. I have particularly valued the opportunities I have had to take funerals; it has been a privilege to be alongside those who are bereaved.
Family life has been tested during the past year as I have four grown up sons and six grandchildren. Finding time to visit them all can be a challenge.
Life is sometimes like being in the Vicar of Dibley, but I have found that a good sense of humour goes a long way; especially in difficult situations.
I have recently felt the tension between being immersed in a public ministry whilst remaining authentically myself.
I’m really looking forward to what the future might hold for my ministry. I am passionate about council estate ministry and would like to return to this sometime, however every time I have tried to plan what I might do next, God seems to have had other ideas, so I’ve learned to leave things in his hands.