32 new deacons to be ordained at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

A former airline pilot, foreign office diplomat, concert soloist and PPE manufacturer are among the 32 new deacons that were ordained at four special services at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, on 3 and 4 July.

Following the government’s guidance and road map plans, the directors of ordinands and their teams have been busily preparing for this year’s ordinations to ensure that they can go ahead safely. The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, ordained 30 deacons on 3 July in three separate services, representing their respective archdeaconries (Buckinghamshire, Oxford and Dorchester, and Berkshire). A further two deacons were ordained on 4 July by the Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas.

In line with current guidelines, each candidate was able to invite eight guests, including their training incumbent, to their service. To allow the new deacons to share their special day, the diocese livestreamed each of the services, and images and video footage are now available.

Speaking about the ordinations, Nicholas Cheeseman, area director of ordinands for Berkshire and Oxford, says,

“It is always good to see and hear how God’s grace has been shown through those being ordained deacon. The ordination service says that ‘deacons are ordained so that the people of God may be better equipped to make Christ known’. Although our ordination services are different this year, those we ordain as deacons will still be equipping the people of God in the parishes they serve and helping his people to be a Christ-like Church for the sake of God’s world.”

You can find out more about our new clergy below and view the photos of the day on our Facebook page.

Berkshire Archdeaconry

Aidan Jones is married to Hanni, and they have two boys and twin girls. Born and raised in Oxford, Aidan later realised he was called to ministry while serving in missions in Australia and PNG in his early twenties. He loves songwriting, bonfires, and is passionate about deeper Christian discipleship. He will undertake his curacy in the Benefice of Purley.

Ann Cogle grew up in Guernsey but has lived in Reading since moving there for university. She is married to Simon, and they have three children and two grandchildren. She taught ESOL for 12 years before spending several years in church pastoral work. Ann enjoys walking and watching Grand Tour cycling.

Becky Medlicot grew up in South Africa and moved to the UK in 2001. She is married to Andy, and they have one daughter and a dog. Becky came to faith in her early 20s and felt a call to ministry shortly thereafter. She became a youth pastor and more recently headed up a church plant with her husband. She will undertake her curacy in the Benefice of Wokingham.

David Chislett trained at Cuddesdon and has a master’s from St Mellitus. He will continue his business career whilst serving his curacy on a part-time basis. Married to Kate, they have a daughter Olivia, who is at university in the USA. His 15-year-old self would be gobsmacked by his ordination! Listen to David on BBC Berkshire.

David Saunders found his faith just eight years ago following a season in his life that challenged his understanding of who he was. Stepping into a church for the first time, David had an experience that changed his life forever as he came to recognise God’s plan for him in ministry. He will be serving his curacy in the Benefice of Ascot Heath.

Richard Eves has known the Lord from an early age and since then has been continually amazed by his love, faithfulness, wisdom and goodness. Taking this step is exciting and daunting in equal measure, and he knows the only chance of any ‘success’ in ministry is in dependence upon such a Lord. He will serve his curacy in the Benefice of Wargrave with Knowl Hill.

Sam Mortimer lives in Bracknell and is married to Sarah, who is a curate, with three sons. Bringing the gospel to people of all ages through science is a passion. During the week, Sam manages a team repairing personal protective equipment. To relax, he likes cycling, walking and drawing. He will serve his curacy in the Benefice of Binfield.

Tracy Watkins came to faith in Christ on an Alpha course in 2002. She has worked in publishing, financial services and as a charity membership officer serving people with MS. She took up running in her mid-forties and has completed three marathons, with the New York course still a goal! She will undertake her curacy in the Benefice of Tilehurst St Michael. Listen to Tracy and David discussing their journey to faith with BBC Berkshire’s Paul Coia.

Watch the ordination of deacons from Berkshire from 6pm on 3 July.

Buckinghamshire Archdeaconry

A chance meeting with Bishop Karowei, Bishop of Woolwich, set Ayo Audu off on his exploration of vocation. Having worked in digital marketing, a career break offered space for reflecting on and responding to “the gentle nudge that wouldn’t be ignored”. Cycling and reading provide him much valued distraction – but never together. He will undertake his curacy at St Frideswide in the Water Eaton Benefice.

Carole Gooding has always been involved in church. She is married to Revd Robert, with two adult children. After careers in radiography and early years, she has been called to ordination, hoping to eventually work alongside Robert. Carole is passionate about environmental care and arts and crafts. She will serve her curacy in the Benefice of Eton with Eton Wick and Boveney and Dorney.

Cathy Pearce lives in Buckingham with her husband Dave, and they have four children. After helping with youth work in the North Buckingham Parish for many years, Cathy felt called to share the hope of her Christian faith through ministry, with an emphasis on relationships with God and with each other. Cathy will undertake her curacy in North Buckingham Parish, which consists of five village churches; Akeley, Leckhampstead, Lillingstone Dayrell, Lillingstone Lovell and Maids Moreton.

Jeremy Moodey has had a varied career as a Foreign Office diplomat, city investment banker and charity CEO. He also tried to become an MP and is a qualified football referee. He came to faith in his teens, which was in the 1970s! Jeremy is married to Ruth and has two adult daughters, Rebecca and Eleanor. He will serve his curacy in the Benefice of Great Chesham.  Listen to Jeremy discuss his journey to faith with BBC Three Counties’ Nighat Arif.

Mark Gould has worked for many years teaching physics in secondary schools around Maidenhead. He is a keen sailor and has shared his faith with young people over the years through sailing yachts with West Runton Holidays. He now hears the call to trust and step out onto the waters.

Rachel Ciampoli grew up in the US and at 30 moved to London with her job. Though she enjoyed her management career, she had carried a sense of calling to ministry for decades. She found in Anglicanism the proper context to finally pursue this calling. She met Dwight whilst training and they married in 2020. Rachel will be doing her curacy at Saint Mary’s Bletchley, Milton Keynes.  Listen to Rachel chatting to Nighat Arif of BBC Three Counties.

Rainah Madzoera was born in Zimbabwe and serving God has been her passion since she was a teenager. She is married to Herbert, and they are blessed with two daughters, Lesley and Lily. She relocated to the UK from Zimbabwe in 2002 and is currently a chaplain in the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. Previously, she was a registered mental health nurse. Rainah enjoys family time, travelling, reading, singing and listening to gospel music. She feels honoured and humbled to be serving her curacy at Aylesbury, St Mary’s, and is looking forward to serving the Aylesbury community.  Listen to Rainah chatting to BBC Three Counties’ Nighat Arif here

Before training for ordination, Ruth Harley worked in the diocese as a children’s, youth and families’ minister and was chair of governors at a Church of England school. Ruth is the co-author of a recently published book: Being Interrupted: Re-Imagining the Church’s Mission from the Outside, In. She will undertake her curacy in the Watling Valley Ecumenical Partnership.  You can listen to Ruth chatting to BBC Three Counties’ Mike Naylor here.

Sarah Smith is married with two children. An experience while on pilgrimage in Israel began her journey toward ordination. Like Jonah, she took the long route, but is excited that ten years later she will be able to serve in the church that helped clarify her call and has supported her in the Benefice of Iver. Listen to Sarah discussing her journey to faith with BBC Three Counties’ Nighat Arif.

Simon Russell had previously worked as an outdoor instructor and youth worker before his call to ordained ministry. He loves the outdoors and adventure in his spare time. Simon has been a Christian nearly all his life and is looking forward to the challenges and joys of the next phase of ministry.

Watch the ordination of deacons from Buckinghamshire from 10am on 3 July.

Dorchester Archdeaconry

Chris Hunt lives in Bicester with his wife Autumn and their children, Ephram, Rosie and Adelaide. Chris begins his curacy as a pioneer minister on the Eco-Town as the leader of Hope Church, a church planted over lockdown. Having spent ten years playing music in Memphis with his wife, Chris is passionate about ways to minister the gospel through the arts and creativity.  Listen to Chris chatting to BBC Oxford’s Lilley Mitchell here.

Lex Bradley-Stow was brought up in a Christian family and came to faith at 14. Lex is a qualified youth worker and spent her working life prior to training in schools, living in a convent as a boarding mistress for two years. Lex lives with her partner Rhiannon and their cat Bertie and will undertake her curacy in the Cherwell Valley Benefice.

Michael Dormandy grew up in a church-going family and made a personal commitment to Christ in his late teens. Outside the church, he has been a teacher of various kinds and now teaches New Testament and preaching to trainee ministers. He will serve his curacy in the Benefice of Albury with Tiddington, Holton, Waterperry, Waterstock and Wheatley.

Miles Welborn has been studying for the last three years for his ordination at Cuddesdon. Before training, Miles was a verger at Hereford Cathedral. Engaged to Katie (also training for ordination), he is a keen scuba diver, as well as enjoying comic books, video games, Ancient Egyptian and military history. After ordination he will be serving as assistant curate at Bampton in west Oxfordshire.

Nick Fielden’s early faith was strengthened through life’s challenges, deepening his trust in God. Married with two grown-up children, he enjoyed a 27-year career in IT before experiencing a call to ministry in 2016. The long journey to ordination has been one of deep listening and obedience to God. He will serve his curacy in the Benefice of Bodicote.

Born in Yorkshire, Romey Poston has spent most of her adult life overseas, as a foreign correspondent then overseas aid director and diplomat’s wife. Brought to faith by a Franciscan years ago, she answers God’s call on her own life with humility and joy. She is widowed with three grown children. She will serve in the Benefice of Henley-on-Thames with Remenham.

Sasha Braun/Reeves is a former nursery school teacher. She loves to be creative, share her baking and cooking with friends and family, be by the sea and go for walks with her soon to be husband Matt. Sasha feels called to raise awareness of disabilities within the church and make church an accessible place for all. She will serve in the Benefice of Didcot.

Watch the ordination of deacons from Oxford and Dorchester from 2pm on 3 July.

Oxford Archdeaconry

Al Horn came to faith as a teenager, and after a number of years in newspaper journalism and publishing, he joined the staff of St Ebbe’s, Oxford, in 2001. He is being ordained to continue his role as senior minister at St Ebbe’s in Headington. Al will be ordained by the Bishop of Maidstone on Sunday 4th July at 2pm at Christ Church.

Esther Brazil grew up in Beijing, Singapore and Sydney, and studied at the Queen’s College, Oxford, and the Royal Academy of Music. After a distinguished career as a concert soloist, she worked as ministerial assistant at the University Church before training at Cuddesdon. She will serve her title as assistant curate of St Mary Magdalen’s Church, Oxford, where she will be the first female to hold the role. Hear Esther speak to BBC Radio Oxford.

As a teenager, Glenn Nesbitt knew he would be a minister one day after his granny told him that’s what she was praying for him. Recently, he spent nine years in South Africa, serving at a bible college and two churches in Johannesburg and Soweto. Glenn is married with two children and will serve his curacy at Oxford St Ebbe with Holy Trinity and Saint Peter le Bailey. Glenn will be ordained by the Bishop of Maidstone on Sunday 4th July at 2pm at Christ Church.

Joanna Tarassenko was baptised, confirmed and married ‘over the road’ in St Aldates church, where her Christian faith flourished. Through studying theology, her faith was not only challenged but also deepened. She is passionate about preaching, worship and especially serving the local community. Married to Luke, they have one daughter, Bianca. Joanna will serve at St Clement’s Oxford.

Matthew Salisbury has taught at the University of Oxford for over a decade and has been on the staff of Church House Westminster for five years, supporting the worship and prayer of the Church of England. He follows a Benedictine rule of life. He will serve at St Barnabas and St Paul with St Thomas the Martyr, Oxford.

Simon Cross abandoned atheism in his mid-teens. He has been a flight instructor and airline pilot. His theological study focussed on science and theology of divine action. He currently works on the ethics of technology and the climate emergency. Simon is married to Rachel, also a priest. They have two adult sons. He will undertake his curacy in the Benefice of Summertown.  Listen to Simon talking about his ‘faith place’ on BBC Oxford. 

Watch the ordination of deacons from Oxford and Dorchester from 2pm on 3 July.