29 new clergy have joined the Diocese of London, having been ordained to the office of Deacon at St Paul’s Cathedral by the Acting Bishop of London, the Rt Revered Pete Broadbent.
The new deacons, who number 21 men and 8 women, bring a huge breadth of age and experience to the family of clergy in the Diocese of London. They range in age from 27 to 67 and represent many different backgrounds including youth work, teaching, and politics.
The new deacons will be working in churches across London, serving their local communities and undertaking public worship, teaching and pastoral work.
This year almost half of the Diocese of London’s new clergy are under the age of 40. They trained at a number of different institutions including St Mellitus College, which recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of it’s founding by the then Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, and has grown over the last decade to become one the largest Anglican theological colleges in the world.
The Diocese has been actively encouraging vocations under its Capital Vision 2020 strategy, including through the launch of the London Callings website to support and encourage people who want to explore ordination. In London, ordinations have nearly doubled since 2011, with an increase each year over the last six years.
The Acting Bishop of London, Pete Broadbent, said: “The ordination of our new deacons is always a high point in the calendar of the Diocese. Our new ordinands represent a vibrant range of backgrounds and experience, and they will draw upon this to serve their communities, and spread the Gospel of Love and share the Ministry of Christ across this great, and most cosmopolitan city.”
The office of Deacon is appointed to those ordinands who have completed their initial training. A deacon will usually serve in his parish for a year, undertaking further training, where upon he will be ordained a priest.
London’s new deacons in 2017 include;
- Dr John Russell, who will join the team at St Luke’s and Christ Church, Chelsea. John previously worked as a legal aid lawyer in London specialising in police misconduct and deaths in custody, before becoming a senior law lecturer at London South Bank University and setting up a free legal advice clinic at Elephant & Castle. Having been a Quaker for ten years, John experienced a deeper conversion five years ago and resigned his lectureship to become a parish assistant in Manchester. He joins St Luke’s after three years residential training at the College of Resurrection in Mirfield, where he has just completed a research MA at the University of Leeds on new monastic communities.
- Ben Bell, who will be joining the team at All Saints and St Nicholas, Poplar. Prior to training, Ben was the founding Director of Urban Hope, a youth and community project in Islington providing safe spaces, positive relationships and new experiences for young people. This work involved working with some of the most challenging, vulnerable and ‘at risk’ young people in these boroughs. Ben is particularly interested in urban ministry, and has an MA in Youth Ministry. Under Ben’s leadership, Urban Hope created CONCRETE, an initiative that resources and supports urban youth ministry across the UK. His achievements were recognised by his inclusion in the Independent on Sunday’s ‘Happy List 2014’. Ben has a particular interest in seeking the development and empowerment of minority ethnic members of the church. He is a keen cook, photographer and an avid ‘sneakerhead’ (collector of trainers). The design for Ben’s ordination stole reflects his love of brutalist architecture; featuring the windows of the Balfron Tower in the Parish of Poplar where Ben will service as Assistant Curate.