*** DEBUG END ***

Sentamu sowed the seed in her mind

08 July 2016

Catherine Okoronkwo was ordained deacon at Lichfield Cathedral on 26 June and is serving her title at All Saints’, Streetly, near Sutton Coldfield.

She puts her decision to become a priest down to a chance meeting ten years earlier with the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, at the Birmingham church where she worshipped.

“I was introduced to him, and, as I shook his hand, he just said: ‘Have you thought about ordination?’ There was no preamble, no discussion: that was it. I was ‘Oh? Gosh!’ I hadn’t really thought about it, It was just so bizarre.”

Ms Okoronkwo, who is 44, and the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat with the UN, had always thought she would take up some form of work with the church, possibly as missionary, and had attended Redcliffe Bible College in Gloucester; but she had opted for a career as a teacher. “However, I kept thinking about ministry and service to God,” she said.

“But it was not until I went to Keele University in 2013 to do a Ph.D. that I said: ‘OK, Lord, I am ready to re-engage with this whole thing about ordained ministry.’ That chance meeting with the Archbishop was a key moment in helping me to take this calling seriously.

“I think I needed to get through the teaching and have a bit of life experience first, but I think I will make a better minister for having had that experience.”

Forthcoming Events

25 September 2021
Festival of Faith and Literature: Food for the Journey
With Stephen Cottrell, Peter Stanford, Lucy Winkett, and Rowan Williams.

20 October 2021
Does the parish need saving?
Warnings that the parish is under threat date back decades. But are claims that it is now being dismantled accurate? Join our panel for a lively online debate.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)