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‘We answered a calling for a life in the Church’
THEY come from all walks of life but today they start a new calling in the Church.
A former theatre and opera director, a husband and wife and a qualified cricket coach are among those who will be ordained as deacons at a special ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.
In all 31 people will join the clergy across the Diocese of Oxford, which also includes Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, to serve as curates following their ordinations.
Mark Brickman, 52, from Grandpont, will become a curate at St Aldate’s Church in the centre of Oxford.
Prior to taking orders, he worked as a theatre and opera director, and a film director and writer for the charitable and educational sector.
He said: “I’d made a documentary about the relationship between science and religion and, as I was scripting it, an American missionary said ‘I think God is calling you to become a film maker for God’.
“I prayed about it and after a month it felt right to explore ordination.”
Kath and Phil Cooke will both be ordained during today’s ceremony.
Mrs Cooke is set to serve at Eynsham and Cassington, and has a background as a childminder and supporting adults with learning disabilities. Her husband, who has spent 20 years as a worship pastor and worked as a researcher on rural homelessness, will become a curate for Hanborough and Freeland.
Sarah Northall, 43, from Chipping Norton, is moving to Iffley to start her curacy at St Mary’s Church.
She said: “I think churches are really exciting places at the heart of the community and I want to be part of that.”
Dominic Keech, 28, of Barnards Way, Wantage, has been on the path to ministry for 12 years. He said: “I have felt called to ordained ministry since the age of 16.”
He studied theology at Oxford and worked for the diocese for a year before following his calling.
Mark Bodeker, a keen mountain biker and chief financial and operation officer for a small bio-technology group, will be based at All Saints’, Didcot.
Simon Steer is taking up the position of chaplain at Abingdon School.
Former IT worker Thomas Albinson will serve at SS Mary and Nicholas, Littlemore.
Lucy Gardner, who has taught Christian Doctrine at St Stephen’s House in Oxford since 1993, will be based at Wheatley.
Social worker Nick Pike will serve at Cogges, South Leigh and North Leigh.
Former choral scholar James Stickings is destined for Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry.
Tax accountant and trust and charity administrator John Hanks – a member of the General Synod for 10 years – will be a deacon at SS Barnabas and Paul, Oxford.
And consultancy business director and squash enthusiast Peter Wright will be based at Bicester with Bucknell, Caversfield and Launton.