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Ordination of Deacons in the Diocese of Southwark

8 months, 3 weeks ago

The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, will ordain eleven people as Deacons to serve in the Diocese of Southwark on Saturday 30 June at 11am at Southwark Cathedral. They will each serve their curacy in the parish indicated.

Timothy Ajayi                     Blackheath, St Michael & All Angels

Raymond Baudon                 East Dulwich, St John the Evangelist

Lisa Bewick                         Waterloo, St John w St Andrew

Tom Collins                         Balham Hill, The Ascension

Cordella Dawson                  Woodside, St Luke

Vanessa Elston                     South Lambeth, St Anne & All Saints

Alistair Forster                    Norbury, St Oswald

Chris Hanning                      Blackheath, St John the Evangelist

Jacob Mercer                      Bermondsey, St James & St Anne United Benefice

Christopher Rogers               Catford (Southend) & Downham Team Ministry

Darius Weithers                   Croydon, St Matthew

Note: Some of these Deacons will serve in stipendiary ministry which means they receive the equivalent of a salary and some will be unpaid for their work as priests.


TIMOTHY (TIMMY) AJAYI had his formative years in Nigeria. He studied in Nigeria and the UK; gaining a degree in Industrial Chemistry, and a Masters degree in International Business & Management. His work experience cuts across the energy industry, events marketing, healthcare management and business consulting. Timmy is married with two children. An avid wood trekker, Timmy also enjoys travelling, classical music and fine arts.


RAYMOND BAUDON was born and brought up mainly in Scotland. He studied law at Glasgow University and completed his postgraduate studies in law from Edinburgh University. After qualifying as a solicitor, Raymond worked in a law firm in Edinburgh and specialised in Corporate Finance. He moved to London in 2013 and before beginning training he worked as an assistant in the chaplaincy at King's College London. Raymond's interests include travelling, he lived in Greece for a year and as part of his training he spent four weeks at an Episcopal Church in Las Vegas. When he is not planning his next adventure, Raymond enjoys cooking and is developing an interest in bread making.

LISA BEWICK was born and brought up in Warwickshire.  She then studied at Exeter University and St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, gaining a degree in Classical Studies and Theology and then a PGCE in Secondary RE.  Lisa taught for ten years before becoming Education Officer at Southwark Cathedral in 2016.  Lisa will continue in this role throughout her curacy.  Lisa is married and enjoys reading and long walks.

TOM COLLINS grew up in Papua New Guinea, moving to the UK at the age of nine. After studying Engineering he moved to South West London to train and work as a Clinical Scientist, analysing walking patterns and providing equipment for people living with neuromuscular conditions. Tom is married with three sons. He is looking forward to growing with the church in Balham, together as followers of Jesus.

CORDELLA DAWSON was born in London but spent her teenage years in Jamaica. On her return to the UK, Cordella, who has a Bachelor of Laws degree, became a Civil Servant at the Home Office. She enjoys reading, spending time with friends, listening to music and has recently found relaxation as an amateur DJ. From time to time, Cordella can be heard sharing her eclectic taste in music on internet radio. She is married with two sons.

VANESSA ELSTON was born and brought up in Hertfordshire, studied Drama and English at university, and then moved to London where she has worked as a secondary school teacher, in community arts, and with a variety of churches and mission projects.  While working for Moot, a new monastic community, she discerned a calling to pioneer ministry. Vanessa is married and has one daughter. Her interests include the arts and sustainability in enterprise, living and community.  She enjoys walking (with an OS Map in hand), camping, and good conversation over a cup of tea or glass of wine.

ALISTAIR FORSTER grew up in Somerset before moving to Canterbury, Christ Church College, where he trained as a teacher. After 25 years in both state and independent schools, including 7 years as a housemaster, he gave up teaching to train fulltime for the ministry at St Augustine’s College of Theology. He is married with one grown-up stepson. Alistair enjoys walking and cycling and has a keen interest in Pre-Raphaelite art, as well as most genres of science fiction. Where time permits, Alistair sings with Amici Coro chamber choir which travels to different cathedrals in the UK to lead choral worship during the regular choir holidays.

CHRIS HANNING is originally from Newbury in Berkshire. After studying history and international relations in Edinburgh he came to London and has remained there ever since. For several years he worked in charity-fundraising and in editorial roles for healthcare publishing before embarking on full-time Christian ministry. Chris is married and loves ball-chasing sports of many sorts, exploring the countryside, reading fiction from around the world and playing the piano. 


JACOB MERCER grew up in Hertfordshire and studied English Literature at Cambridge University. After working for churches in Cambridge and Wimbledon, he moved to Oxford to read Theology and prepare for ordination. He is married with a one year-old son. Jacob enjoys reading, detective dramas, and the countryside.

CHRISTOPHER ROGERS is from Cheshire, and studied Law at Cambridge before practicing as a commercial barrister for 11 years. His main interests are art, music and dance, and he takes to Catford his dachshund Cuthbert.

DARIUS WEITHERS was born in North London, and grew up in Reading. After completing a degree in Intercultural and Biblical Studies at All Nations Christian College, Darius worked at All Saints Church, Peckham for 7 years. He is currently completing his MA in Theology, Ministry and Mission from Trinity College Bristol, researching Post-Colonial Liturgy. Darius is married with two daughters. Among many other things, Darius enjoys sport, food, movies and Hip Hop.