I was ordained deacon in 1996 and as Presbyter in 1997 in the Church of South India (united), Diocese of Madras. After six years of pastoral ministry in the villages around Chennai, India, I served for four years (2002-2006) at the All Saints’ Church in Battersea as USPG’s ‘Come over and help us’ missionary.

Then I returned to Chennai and served as Presbyter in different congregations and returned with Revd. Premraj to the Diocese of Southwark ,when he became Priest in charge at St. Edwards, New Addington in 2019. I was then licensed on the 12th October 2021 to serve St. Edwards with a Permission to Officiate.

Thereafter have been serving full time as well-being Chaplain at the Croydon University Hospital from 2022-till date.

My experience as a Priest in a multi faith, multi lingual setting in India had given me understanding as to what it means to be a servant of God in a multi faith setting. These learning and ministry experiences has been a great source of strength in my present position as well-being Chaplain. I serve as part of a dedicated Chaplaincy Spiritual Care team led by our lead Chaplain Revd Andy Dovey at Croydon University Hospital. The team along with a multi faith volunteer force care for people of different faiths and none, different ethnicities and different languages.

Being a Women priest has been an amazing experience, sometimes very difficult and sometimes just marvellous. It required lot of patience to hear insulting remarks such as ‘since when did they get women into this role as chaplains’ and other derogative comments and yet serve with the love of Christ and smile. It is just wonderful to see people who have been cynical about a women priest overtime became so respectful of me.

While both men and women in their time of pain and distress find the presence of a woman chaplain very comforting, women from diverse backgrounds in their physical pain, emotional pain and trauma after the loss of their loved one find my presence very comforting. In those times I feel blessed to be a woman priest.

I was named after the Judge Deborah of the Old Testament, like her I cling on to the word of God and serve the people amongst whom God places me.

Revd Deborah Premraj