A CAMPAIGNER who fought for the right for women to be ordained and a biochemistry lecturer are among those starting a new spiritual journey this weekend.

On Saturday, 30 people will be ordained as deacons by the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Rev John Pritchard, at Christ Church Cathedral.

The new deacons, who will take up posts as curates across the Diocese of Oxford, are from a wide variety of different backgrounds.

Jo Moffett-Levy, 60, from Botley, will become a curate at St Michael in the Northgate, Cornmarket Street, and comes from a long line of priests and ministers.

She was part of the movement to allow women to join the clergy in the 1970s and 1980s, acting as vice chairman of the Movement for the Ordination of Women.

She said: “At that stage I wanted it to be possible for people but I hadn’t decided it was what I wanted for myself. I take a long time to make decisions.”

Faith remains an important discussion around the dinner table, as her husband, David Levy, is Jewish.

Ms Moffett-Levy is also part of the Oxford City of Sanctuary movement and helps at a refugee drop-in every week.

She comes to the job after spending 30 years working as an academic researcher in the field of mothers and health.

Dr Rob Gilbert, 37, former senior dean at Oxford University’s Magdalen College, is hoping to prove religion and science can mix.

Dr Gilbert, who will continue to teach biochemistry after taking up his post at St Peter’s in Wolvercote and All Saints’ in Wytham, said: “Everything pointed in the direction of ministry but I kept putting it off and deciding it wasn’t for me until my experiences as dean. I think it will be an interesting combination, for the people in the parish because clergy don’t often come from my background, but also in my work.”

Clare Hayns, 41, from Horspath, will be leaving a job managing entertainers – including her husband Juggling John – to take up her post at Blenheim.

A mother of three who originally trained as a social worker, Mrs Hayns said she had found her calling in the past five years then spent three years training to become a deacon.

She said: “Faith became an important part of my life when I was in my 20s but it wasn’t until fairly recently I thought this was what God wanted me to do.”

As well as juggling jugglers, Mrs Hayns volunteers at and is a trustee of the Community Emergency Food Bank at St Francis Church, Hollow Way, Cowley.

Christian Aid head of theology – and Oxford United fan – Dr Paula Clifford, from Kirtlington, will become curate of St Giles Church in Frideswide Square.

A lay minister for 20 years, she said personal experiences made her decide to take “that extra step”.

She said: “Before my work commitments at Christian Aid and my church links were very separate but when my job changed it meant they were getting closer and it seemed to make sense.”

On Saturday, four deacons were ordained as priests at SS Mary and John Church, Cowley Road, Oxford, by Bishop John.

Ben Williams, curate at SS Mary and John, Martin Henig, curate at SS Peter and Paul, Botley, Phil Atkinson, curate at St Aldate’s Church, St Aldate’s, and Pete Scamman, curate at St Andrew’s Church in North Oxford, were all ordained in the service – the first ordination at the church.


Luke Foster, at Banbury, St Paul

David Gifford, at Benson, St Helen

Beom-jin Shin, Banbury, St Mary

Jonathan Brant, Oxford, St Clement

Paula Clifford, Oxford, St Giles and St Philip and St James with St Margaret

Richard Frith, to serve at Oxford St Mary Magdalen

Rob Gilbert, Wolvercote, St Peter and All Saints’ Wytham

Joanna Moffett-Levy to serve at Oxford St Michael in the Northgate

Mark Stafford to serve at Oxford, St Barnabas and St Paul

Claire Hayns to serve at Blenheim

Jim Barlow, Burnham, St Peter

Margaret Dixon, Ellesborough, the Kimbles and Stoke Mandeville

Tom Holbird, Gerrards Cross and Fulmer

Cassa Messervy, Beaconsfield, St Michael and All Angels

Helen Peters, Hughenden, St Michael

Sharon Roberts, Aersham on the Hill, St Michael and All Angels

John Smith, Penn and Tylers Green

Caroline Symcox, Amersham, St Mary

Nigel Taylor, Princes Risborough

Brynn Bayman, Finchampstead, St James

Miriam Caminer, Old Windsor, SS Peter and Andrew

Angela Gosden, to serve at Stanford in the Vale with Goosey and Hatford, and St Denys

Anna Harwood, Ruscombe and Twyford

Daniel Heyward, Reading Greyfriars

Derreck Lee-Philpot, Cholsey and Moulsford

Ian Seymour, St Sebastian, Wokingham

Kate Sladen, Easthampstead, SS Michael and Mary Magdalene

Rosalind Stacey, Easthampstead, SS Michael and Mary Magdalene

Philip Watts to serve at Binfield

Tracey Williams to serve at Sunninghill and South Ascot

Graham Williams will be ordained in Reading on Sunday to serve at Reading St Mark and All Saints