A FORMER soldier, a British Airways cabin crew member, teachers, scientists and a chartered surveyor are among the new who Deacons ordained special services at Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday.

They will mainly serve as curates in parishes across the Diocese of Oxford, which covers Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Below are photos from the ordinations and a biography of each of the new Deacons.

Buckingham ordinands, from left, Jason ‘Griff’ Griffiths, Nigel Featherston, Roland Slade, Bishop Steven, Paul Henderson, Liz Lowson, Chris Gerke, and Jacqueline Dove.

Dorchester ordinands, from left, Wendy Middleton, Ross Meikle, Jacqueline Barr, Emma Hopegood-Jones, Bishop Steven, Paula Smith, Bishop Colin, April Beckerleg, Karen Hyde, Mike Reading.

Berkshire and Oxford ordinands; back, from left, Hugh Barne, Tim Holmes, Matt Pope, Joel Knight, Bishop Steven, John Ainslie, Steve Tuck, Philip Lockley and Steve Turville; front, from left, Lyndon Drake, Serena Tajima, Sue Cady and Sarah Foot.



John Ainslie – The Cookhams

I graduated as a scientist from Queens’ College Cambridge, and have become an acknowledged expert in the field of renewable energy. In my time in training at Cuddesdon I have been totally captivated by the power of story to convey even deeper truths than are available through science – whether stories from scripture or stories of the transformation of the lives of countless Christians.


Hugh Barne – Wargrave with Knowl Hill

Hugh has finished three-years of training for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, and his wife Grace has been the Youth Worker at St Ebbe’s Church. Country-dwellers by background (and at heart), they have both been in Oxford for nine years and look forward to continuing to enjoy country walks, cycling and live music near Wargrave.

Jacky Barr – Chinnor, Aston Roant, Sydenham and Crowell

I’m looking forward to living out my faith by serving my curacy in the United Parish of Chinnor. Before and during ordination training I’ve been enjoying sharing and teaching yoga to a wide variety of people, aged from three to 98 year olds  as well as being a mum to three almost-grown daughters.

April Beckerleg – St Edburg’s Bicester

April lives with her husband, two dogs, chickens and a cat. She has three grown up children. She was a primary school teacher and governor at her local secondary school, as well as a PCC member and churchwarden. She is now very excited to be assistant curate at St Edburg’s church in Bicester.


Sue Cady – St Agnews with St Paul and St Barnabas, Reading

Sue  is married to Paul. They have three adult sons, Daniel, Andrew and Stephen and a dog called Eevee. Prior to training for ordination Sue worked as a hospice physiotherapist and taught with the family learning team in Buckinghamshire. She is an associate of the mission organisation Interserve.

Jacqueline Dove – the Schorne Team

I was born in Zambia to a British father and South African mother and have lived in Britain, South Africa, Mozambique and France.  From riding a horse to school, raising two children in rural Mozambique and working as a Chaplain in a Methodist Care Home, my experience has been eclectic.

Lyndon Drake – Te Tai Tokerau Diocese in New Zealand

Lyndon is being ordained on behalf the Te Tai Tokerau diocese in New Zealand, part of the Māori stream of the Anglican Church there. Lyndon is hoping to complete a DPhil in Hebrew Bible at Oxford. He is married to Miriam, and they have three children.

Nigel Featherston – Wychert Vale

I am very much looking forward to my Ordination and to serving in my home Benefice of Wychert Vale in Buckinghamshire where I live with my wife, Joy, three of my four sons, my daughter-in-law and my grandson.

Sarah Foot – Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

Sarah has been a residentiary lay canon of Christ Church Cathedral for almost 10 years, holding that post with the professorship of Church History in Oxford University. Her vocation to serve as an ordained minister has grown out of that experience, nurtured by the wider Cathedral community.

Chris Gercke – Great Chesham
I received theological training at Trinity College, Bristol. Prior to training I worked as a chartered surveyor, consulting on commercial and residential property, although for a brief period I also worked for a humanitarian organisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am married and have two children.

Jason ‘Griff’ Griffiths – St George’s, Britwell

Griff is married to Rowena, and has two teenage daughters which he believes are the reason for his grey hair. He served 24 years in the Army prior to training at Wycliffe Hall, then St John’s Nottingham. Enjoys cycling, swimming, running and the outdoors. Griff believes he has a wealth of experience to bring to his future ministry.


Paul Henderson – Chalfont St Giles, Seer Green and the Jordans

Paul has spent a career in banking and has been a churchwarden in his parish life where he has taken an active role in leading services of worship and occasionally playing the organ. Paul and his wife Frederique have three grown-up children and one granddaughter. Paul enjoys sailing in his spare time.

Emma Hopegood-Jones – Hanborough and Freeland

Emma was born in Bath and was a chorister at Bath Abbey before studying music as a choral scholar at King’s College, London. Prior to training, Emma was a children’s worker, and has a particular interest in nurturing children’s spirituality. While training for ordination, Emma married Christopher, a chartered accountant.

Tim Howles – St Andrew’s, Headington, Oxford
I’m delighted and humbled to be called to serve as Assistant Curate in Headington. I come to the post after eight years in the publishing industry and then some work in theology, where I asked what God might be saying to us through climate change. I’m married to Sarah, a surgeon working in the Oxford hospitals, and we have two young children.

Karen Hyde – the Damascus Group
Studying biochemistry led to a research career in molecular genetics in Oxford where I met my husband – we are blessed with four wonderful teenagers.  My love of wine evolved into a passion for teaching others through wine courses before being called to explore ordained ministry. Another exciting chapter begins…


Joel Knight – St Ebbe’s, Oxford

I was born in Liverpool but uprooted to the south as a toddler. After three years in the Midlands for University I’ve lived in Oxford since beginning my training for ordination. I’m excited about serving the town as I join St Ebbe’s Church in sharing the good news of Jesus.

Philip Lockley – St Clement’s, Oxford

Philip was a Junior Don at Oxford University. After five years of teaching, he learned that God has much to say to the insecurities and self-doubts brewing below the surface confidence of today’s university life. So he left to train for ordination and returns for ministry in St Clement’s Church, Oxford.

Elizabeth Lowson – Great Missenden with Ballinger and Little Hampden

When my manager at work asked whether I was going to be a priest, I realised God’s call could be ignored no longer.  I grew up worshipping God in the beauty of liturgy and sacred music at Canterbury Cathedral, and enjoy exploring all responses to God’s love – especially action songs.


Ross Meikle – the Witney Benefice

Ross Meikle studied for ministry in Durham. His first degree was in Writing, Directing and Performance from York University. Ross lived in Kenya for three years as a teenager when his dad worked for the Mission Aviation Fellowship. Ross is a writer and storyteller of fairy tales.

Wendy Middleton – Goring and Streatley with South Stoke

I am married to Robin (we met bell ringing) and we have two adult sons. I work part time in the village primary school, and enjoy mountain walking and all things creative in any spare time. I am looking forward to serving in my home benefice.

Stewart Morgan – Rotherfield Peppard, Kidmore End and Sonning Common

Stewart moved from Kent into the Benefice of Rotherfield Peppard, Kidmore End and Sonning Common in 1987. After a long and successful career in the automotive field he completed a BA Hons degree in Theology and Religion and has enjoyed serving as an LLM over the past four years.

Matt Pope – St Ebbe’s, Oxford
I became a Christian 20 years ago when I realised that Jesus was real and the only hope anyone has for life beyond the grave. I am married to Helen. She loves adrenaline sports and is therefore well suited to being a curate’s wife. My children are Eva, 10 and Judah, seven, who help me relax and keep me fit chasing them around. I am looking forward to starting my curacy at St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford.

Mike Reading – Thame Benefice

Mike was a head teacher for nine years before commencing ordination training. During training a disecting aortic aneurysm nearly killed him on holiday in the Canaries, but with only a ridiculously small chance of recovery, God’s grace has allowed him to return to normal, complete a 40 mile cycle ride and commence his curacy.

Roland Slade – Great Marlow with Marlow Bottom, Little Marlow and Bisham
Roland Slade taught in a nursing faculty in Tanzania, and then worked in recruitment for the Church Mission Society before training for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.  He is married to Caroline, supports Leinster rugby team and is also a skilled musician.  He joins Marlow Area Team Ministry as Assistant Curate in July.

Paula Smith – Deddington with Barford, Cliton and Hempton
I have worked as psychiatric nurse, foster carer, teacher and recently as an outreach worker in a children’s centre. Through the joys and challenges Jesus has been my companion and guide to God and I look forward to my future servant ministry. I have four lovely children, all flown the nest.

Serena Tajima – St Luke’s with St Bartholomew’s, Reading
I was born in Yorkshire but finally ended up in Maidenhead, where I have lived for most of my life. I began going to St Luke’s Church in Maidenhead from the age of 10 when I joined the church choir. I worked for British Airways for 11 years as cabin crew and have a degree in Archaeology and a Masters in Building Conservation.

Stephen Tuck – St Matthew’s, Oxford

I am married with four school-age children. I was born in Wolverhampton, raised in Birmingham and  lived in the US and Cambridge. I now living and working in Oxford. I enjoy the outdoors, mountains and football.


Steve Turville – Wargrave with Knowl Hill

I am Sussex born and bred, but have lived in Twyford for 26 years. I have been married to Lesley for 31 years and we have 2 grown children. We support a Children’s Home in South India, which we visit regularly.