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Souls, not stones, for former refugee

08 July 2016

Denis Adide was ordained deacon in St Paul’s Cathedral on 2 July and joined the team at Christ Church, Turnham Green, in west London.

Denis, who is 30, was born in Uganda, but his family fled to a Kenyan refugee camp when he was only six months old. They eventually settled in Nairobi. Then, on his 14th birthday, he moved to Willesden, in north-west London, where his father worked.

He says the moment he came to faith was when he was aged about three, after watching his grandmother, who was a strong Anglican, praying her morning and evening prayers in her own language each day.

By the time he went up to Brunel University, however, his faith was under threat, but a conversation with two evangelists reawakened it. Afterwards, while he was working with a local authority supervising children in care, his desire for ministry increased.

“I always knew I was going to serve in a church somewhere in some capacity,” he said, “but I didn’t know what shape that would take until one of my friends — who became my sending incumbent — was placed in a church that needed more people. Seeing first-hand from him the ins and outs of being a minister formed my mind and what had been a ‘Keep waiting’ signal from God turned into the discerning process to see what I had to do.”

He relished his three years of study at Trinity College, Bristol. “Sitting and praying with people, going to lectures with them, disagreeing with them, and then having to sit and eat with them, and seeing God working though them, has shaped my mind and allowed me to know how much I don’t know.”

He is thrilled at being ordained in St Paul’s, but says: “To be honest, I am not sure that really matters: it’s bricks and mortar. The 40 years to come won’t be improved or lessened by being ordained somewhere like that. It’s the people who are going to be more important to me.”

He is also pleased to be going to a parish where one church that has been closed for several years is being opened to a new congregation. “I know that this is what my bones were made for,” he said. “It is terrifying, because I have not done it before, but it is exciting, too. This is where I will flourish.”

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