BOTH he and his father explored ordination at about the same
time, the Revd Tommy Merry says. Still in his twenties, he was
young enough for three years' training at the College of the
Resurrection, Mirfield, for a full-time post. He has spent the past
year as an assistant curate in the Hanley Team in Stoke,
His father, Philip, also did three years of ordination training,
but part-time, while continuing to work as a caretaker at a school.
In June, Tommy Merry was ordained priest in Stoke Minster by the
Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Geoffrey Annas; and, one week later
and 160 miles away, Philip Merry was made deacon in St Edmundsbury
Cathedral. He has begun his curacy in the parishes of Great
Bealings and Little Bealings with Playford and Culpho.
"It's been challenging, and at times frustrating, which has
helped form us," Tommy Merry says. "Dad's had the harder time in
many ways, studying part-time. I like to think I've added to his
training, in that I've had the opportunity to study full time -
we've had some long phone calls about essays, and arguments when
I've got home. I'm a bit further 'up the candle' than he is.
"We've both been challenged to really understand what it means
to be a priest through our different situations. It's my life, now:
I'm always on call; but he is fully committed to being a minister
while fitting into the changing shape of ministry in the Church