Lesley Bilinda was
ordained deacon at St Paul's Cathedral on 29 June. She will serve
her title at St Andrew's, Fulham Fields.
It was through trauma
that Mrs Bilinda's faith became what it is today. During the
Rwandan genocide her husband, a Rwandan, was murdered. She was on
holiday at the time and was not able to return to the country,
where many family and friends had also been attacked, and her house
looted by soldiers.
"I clung on to faith for
a good long time after that, and God provided such a stability
through the trauma," she says. "But over the years it really
challenged my faith, to the point where I was wondering: how could
God let that happen, and is there really a God at all? I think in
the long term, it has grounded me and strengthened me in my
A trained nurse and
midwife, Mrs Bilinda had been working with Tearfund in Rwanda and
went on to join All Nations' College, where she lectured in
pastoral studies, while training as a counsellor. She has also
worked for the Tutu Foundation in London, serving communities in
need of mediation and reconciliation.
She first became
conscious of a calling to ordination about three years ago, out of
a desire to bring spiritual, as well as physical and mental
healing, "working with people as whole people". As a curate at St
Andrew's, she is excited about working with a "very diverse
"I think I see my role as being someone who journeys with people
in all the major transitions and crises and just day-to-day things
of life," she says. "Having experienced God through the ups and the
major downs, and perhaps learning some of the most important
lessons in life through the hardest experiences of life, I hope to
bring something of that to get alongside other people."