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Clerical variety

02 November 2006

by Margaret Duggan


IF THEIR SUMS are right at Church House, Westminster (and it is early days before the official figures come in), 514 deacons have been ordained in the Church of England this Petertide, and 491 priests, just over 1000 ordinations in all.


 Of the deacons, 310 are stipendiary, 112 non-stipendiary, 87 ordained local ministers (OLMs), plus a few permanent deacons. They come from an amazing range of backgrounds.


Take Southwell diocese as a single example.


The eight deacons ordained in the Minster by the Bishop of Southwell, the Rt Revd George Cassidy, included among the men a hospital dietitian; a social worker (the youngest, at 26) originally from the USA; a County Council personnel officer; a primary-school teacher, and an evangelist, author and poet who has cerebral palsy and has represented Great Britain in disabled sports.


The women included another social worker, a teacher and trainer for the Dyslexia Institute, and a Marie Curie Cancer Care nurse . . . and those are just the deacons.


The following week the Bishop ordained eight priests who have already served a year as deacons, and all originally from a similar variety of backgrounds.

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