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Ordinand finds first curacy down under

19 May 2023

Dr Paul de Cates

Nicholas Edwards is made deacon in the chapel of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, on Sunday, by the Principal, the Rt Revd Humphrey Southern

Nicholas Edwards is made deacon in the chapel of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, on Sunday, by the Principal, the Rt Revd Humphrey Southern

AN ORDINAND in the diocese of Coventry who was warned that he could be without a first curacy at the end of his training has gone the extra mile, or 10,000, to secure a post.

On Sunday, the candidate, the Revd Nicholas Edwards, was ordained deacon in the chapel of Ripon College, Cuddesdon — the only candidate and the first ordination to take place there. He will now serve in the Anglican Church of Australia, and be ordained priest upon his arrival.

At the start of his training, Mr Edwards was warned by the then diocesan director of ordinands in Coventry that there might not be a curacy available for him. He was advised to seek a title parish in other dioceses, such as Newcastle.

Mr Edwards said on Tuesday: “My wife and I reflected that, if we needed to move that far away from our friends and networks, then that might open up the whole Anglican Communion as a possibility.

“We were both born in Australia, although we are British citizens, and have made England our home for decades. The restrictions on seeing extended family, due to recent lockdowns, raised for us the question whether being closer to extended family in Australia might be part of God’s plan for us.”

Thus, instead of Newcastle in the north-east of England, Mr Edwards contacted the diocese of Newcastle, in New South Wales, which, he said, “led to an immediate open door”.

Since priests in Australia begin an incumbency soon after ordination, the Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Peter Stuart, proposed that Mr Edwards be ordained deacon towards the end of his training at Cuddesdon, and be ordained priest on arrival in Australia. Mr Edwards said: “It took much legal advice and discussion to arrive at a suitable way of doing this.”

Mr Edwards was ordained deacon by the Principal of Cuddesdon, the Rt Revd Humphrey Southern, by letters dimissory from Dr Stuart, in a service following the Book of Common Prayer. “Having the ceremony in the college chapel was convenient for the ordaining bishop, and for members of the community to attend,” Mr Edwards said.

He will be ordained priest in St Peter’s, East Maitland, on 26 August, and take up the post of Priest-in-Charge of St James’s, Morpeth, the next day.

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