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Father follows son

15 August 2014

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, Lichfield diocese.

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 today."

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