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/ 8 July 2021

Diocese welcomes 47 new clergy for London churches

27 men and 20 women have joined the family of clergy serving churches across the Diocese of London after being ordained to the office of Deacon this week.

The office of Deacon is often a step on the path towards priesthood and follows two to three years of training. The new Deacons will be working in churches across London, serving their local communities and undertaking public worship, teaching and pastoral work. After a period of normally a year, a Deacon is often ordained to the priesthood.

The Bishop of London, The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, said:

“London is so fortunate to be welcoming 47 new clergy to our family of churches this year. After a uniquely challenging year for the capital, each one of these new Deacons will be an immensely valuable addition to their parishes and the communities they serve. They are a remarkable group of people, and their wide range of backgrounds and interests is testament to the strength and diversity of the Church in London. Let us all celebrate their ordination, and work together to share Jesus’s love and further God’s mission in the Diocese.”

This marks the third successive year the Diocese has welcomed over 40 new Deacons to its churches. The Deacons come from diverse backgrounds and will serve churches and communities across the Diocese of London.


Helen Sims Williams, joining Emmanuel West End Hampstead said:

“I intend to spend lots of time listening, and getting to know the wider parish. I know there are incredible community projects flourishing in the parish – some church based, but many not – with which I hope to get involved, and from whom I know I can learn a massive amount.

“Having two primary aged children, I know how it can feel to parent a young family in a new city with no family nearby, and how crucial community networks are to sanity – and I think the Church, particularly Emmanuel with its strong links to the parish school, is uniquely positioned to offer this.”

Tom Smith, joining ST Michael Wood Green, said:
“I have lived and worked in north London all my life. It will be special for me to serve the people here as assistant Curate, both laughing and crying with them, in all that their lives may bring.

“I am looking forward to bringing Christ’s peace, love and justice to all people whoever they are, and wherever they are at. To offer, through my serving in worship and being with all people, the light of Christ, in all life events, in joy and with thanks, but also through the trials of living.”

The Bishop of Edmonton, The Rt Revd Rob Wickham, said:

“It’s a privilege to welcome nine new Deacons to the Edmonton Area. They are an impressive, inspiring group of people who will be great additions to their churches and the local communities they serve. They will help to maintain the work churches have been doing to help their communities through the pandemic, such as hosting vaccine and test centres, and coordinating volunteers and foodbanks. I am looking forward to working with each of them.”


Lucinda Van der Hart, joining St Dionis Parsons Green, said:

“It is an honour to step into this role and serve in the Diocese of London – particularly during a season which for so many is one of difficulty, loneliness or grief due to the pandemic. My hope is that the Church can be a beacon of the light and love of Jesus Christ for the people of London in this very particular time.

“St Dionis partners with a number of local and national charities that support those in need. We work with Glassdoor to serve up hot meals in our church building for those without homes as well as with Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank. We also partner with charity Kids Matter to provide parenting courses in local primary schools, and with Crosslight, which offers free financial advice to those struggling with debt.”

Ryan Rodrigues, joining Holy Trinity Brompton, said:

“Young people aren’t typically known for going to church. I’m 26, so I’m excited to be getting ordained and sharing the Good News of Jesus with my generation. I will be primarily working with students and young adults, and aiming to play a part in showing the world that God’s kingdom, and his Church here on earth, is a beautifully diverse one where everyone has a part to play, and our differences aren’t just tolerated but actively celebrated and needed.”


The Bishop of Kensington, the Rt Revd Graham Tomlin, said:

“I am delighted to welcome 15 new Deacons to the team of clergy that serves the churches in Kensington Area. They are a remarkable, gifted and varied group of people, and together they are a sign of the health and strength of the Church in London. I’m looking forward to working with them over the coming years to support communities across the Kensington Area and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”


One of the new Deacons, Debbie Onyekwuluje, is joining St George and All Saints Tufnell Park. Another, Christa Brodie-Levinsohn, is joining Hackney Church.

Debbie Onyekwuluje said:

“I am glad I will be doing my curacy in a parish which allows me to minister to a diverse community that I can identify with. I am looking forward to the opportunity to preach, teach and nurture faith.”

Christa Brodie-Levinsohn said:
“As part of my curacy at SAINT, I’ll be working on a heritage project, seeking to hear and share people’s stories from Hackney and East London. The stories we gather will be presented in creative ways to the rest of our community. It will be so special to share these stories from local people and I look forward to listening to and championing those involved.”

Rt Rev Dr Joanne Grenfell, Bishop of Stepney, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome eight new clergy to our churches in Stepney. The Church is thriving in East London, and these new Deacons will be a fantastic addition to our churches and their local communities. Their range of backgrounds, experiences and passions is remarkable, and I’m looking forward to working with each of them in the years to come.”

Two Cities

Jeremy Cavanagh, joining St Stephen Rochester Row, said:

“I have to pinch myself that the Lord has shaped a dawning realisation at Easter 2017 into this ordination milestone that is now a lifelong journey.

“Before the pandemic, one of the parishes where I’ll serve my title had over thirty different faith and non-faith groups using the church premises each week. I hope to help restore this amazing missional activity, while at the same time listening to God about the needs of the local community post Covid.”

Donna McDowell, joining St Paul Rossmore Road, said:

“London has been my home for fifteen years and St Paul’s Cathedral my workplace for the past seven. To be ordained in a building that has become so special to me, in a city I love, and to know that I will be continuing my faith journey in a diverse and vibrant part of this city, fills me with an immense sense of gratitude and excitement. To be able to share this day with family and friends near and far via the live-stream will be a wonderful and moving start to this new chapter!”


The Bishop of London, The Rt Rev and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, said:

“I’m so pleased to welcome nine talented new Deacons to the Two Cities of London and Westminster. The Two Cities have been particularly impacted by the pandemic over the past year, and these new Deacons will have an important role to play in supporting their churches and local communities as we rebuild and return to normal life. I’m looking forward to sharing ministry with and learning from each of them.”


Urmila Kurkalang, joining St Matthew Yiewsley, said:

“It is an absolute privilege that I’m getting to stay on at St Matthew’s, Yiewsley for my curacy. My family and I joined the church when I started training for ordination in 2018. It is a diverse community that I have grown to love and I have certainly witnessed God on the move, both within the church and without.

“We have lived in the parish since 2014 and it is a joy to be able to give something back to the local area that we call home.”

Graham Dale, joining St Mary Harrow-on-the-Hill, said:

“I’m looking forward to learning about and supporting the community of St Mary’s, Harrow on the Hill, and understanding how the Church witnesses and serves in this multicultural and multi-faith community. St Mary’s is also the Church for the local school, so I will be learning about the chaplaincy work there.

“St Mary’s has served this community for over 900 years, so I want to understand what is already going on, and see what I can support.”


The Bishop of Willesden, The Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, said:

“I’m very pleased to welcome six new Deacons to the Willesden Area. Our churches are playing an important role supporting their local communities through the pandemic, and these new Deacons will make an invaluable contribution to those efforts. Willesden is an exciting place to embark on the journey to priesthood, and I’m confident each of these new Deacons will thrive in their new role.”

For photographs of the ordination services please visit our Facebook page.



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