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Ordination of Deacons in the Diocese of Southwark

The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, will ordain 18 people as Deacons to serve in the Diocese of Southwark on Saturday 25 June at 11am at Southwark Cathedral. They will each serve their curacy in the parish indicated.

Simon Aston - Kidbrooke, St James

Helen Burnett - Whytleafe, St Luke & Chaldon, St Peter & St Paul in the Caterham Team Ministry

Peter Churcher - West Wickham, St John

Helen Cook - Redhill, St Matthew

Gareth Davies - Mortlake & East Sheen Team Ministry

Martin Davy - Morden Team Ministry

Alison Elson - Chipstead, St Margaret

Benjamin Graham - Wandsworth, All Saints w Holy Trinity

Helen Harknett - Clapham, Holy Spirit

Sebastian Harries - Lingfield, St Peter and St Paul & Dormansland, St John United Benefice

Samuel Hole - Southwark, St George the Martyr w St Alphege & St Jude

Anna Moore - Reigate, St Mark

Jenny Morgans - North Lambeth Team Ministry

Jane Petrie - Wallington, Springfield EPP

Michael Robinson - Walworth, St Peter

Dr Stephen Srikantha - Kennington, St John the Divine w St James the Apostle

Dr Daniel Trott - Upper Norwood, St John the Evangelist

Andrew Woodward-Russell - East Greenwich Team Ministry

At the same service, The Revd Chidiebere Mbanude, having been received into the Church of England will be licensed to serve in the parish of Croydon, St Andrew.


SIMON ASTON (59) was born in Shropshire, and spent most of his early years in the neighbouring county of Cheshire. Despite his dyslexia he has gained degrees in Psychology, and Law. Although called to the bar, he has spent most of his professional life teaching, including more than twenty years in the same inner London Secondary school. He likes listening to jazz and choral music, enjoys reading, particularly philosophy and history, walking amid mountains, whatever the weather, and along wide open wind-swept beaches on stormy days.

HELEN BURNETT (57) was born in Sheffield, and moved to London as a teenager. She studied for a B.Ed. at Cambridge and then held a number of teaching posts both rural and urban and spent time as part of a multi-disciplinary team in a therapeutic community in the Cotswolds. She is married to a veterinary surgeon and has four sons aged between 16 and 25.For the past 25 years she has been a full time mother, carer and home educator. For 13 years she has been a Woodcraft Folk leader. Helen loves to spend any spare time with her family, camping and hiking in the Western Lakes or Scottish Highlands. Closer to home, she enjoys taking advantage of all that London has to offer in culture and the arts. 

PETER CHURCHER (29) was born in Dorset and read Religious and Theological Studies at Cardiff University. He worked as a Lay Assistant Minister at St Peter's Church, Woodmansterne before moving to Nottingham, where he trained at St John's School of Mission. He is married to Josie and they have four children. He is passionate about Japan, and has been there on short-term mission twice. He also enjoys playing the Ukulele and reading.

HELEN COOK (53) was born in Larne, Northern Ireland and brought up in South Africa and Scotland. She has worked in the building industry all her adult life, first as an investment surveyor in the City and lately as a site manager and trainer for a large company dealing with retirement developments.  Helen is married and has two children, and in her spare time likes going to the cinema and theatre, and seeing friends.

GARETH DAVIES (55) was born and brought up in Tredegar, and came to London to study.  He gained a degree in Accounting & Finance from the LSE, and went on to work for a number of lenders and, most recently, an insolvency regulator.  Investigating a mid-career change Gareth nursed at a forensic mental health unit while studying for a legal qualification.  Gareth enjoys walking, Welsh landscapes, the prayerfulness of North Norfolk, and the beauty of European cities.  When he’s not working he likes to relax with friends and family, sample ales, and escape to the coast.     

MARTIN DAVY (34) was born and brought up in Nottingham before going to university in Hull where he read law. Following his degree he returned to Nottingham where he began working part time for an MP whilst, at the same time, studying for a Masters degree in European law. He then moved to London to begin working as a researcher and caseworker for Sadiq Khan MP in the Houses of Parliament, where he met his wife. They have one daughter. He then spent two years working in charity law before becoming a pastoral assistant at St Nicholas Church in Tooting for four years. Martin enjoys music, especially playing the piano and singing. He also enjoys sailing, Formula One, tennis and holidayingin France.

ALISON ELSON (50) has lived in Reigate all her life.  She studied Primary Education with Religious Studies in Canterbury and has taught in various local schools.  Alison has played an active role in her local community being a school governor and leading a group for girls aged 5-18.  She is married with one daughter and in her spare time she enjoys gardening, visiting gardens and places of historic interest as well as bell ringing.

BENJAMIN GRAHAM (30) is originally from sunny Bournemouth, and studied Physiotherapy at Oxford Brookes University. After gaining his degree he decided on a church apprenticeship intending to do church work for a year. One year turned into several and after encouragement he pursued ordination. Ben is married and has two young sons, with whom he enjoys playing football. Ben loves playing a variety of sports of which hockey is his favourite.

HELEN HARKNETT (37) was born and brought up in KidwellyCarmarthenshire, leaving to attend Christ College, Brecon to study for A levels. She went on to gain a degree in Politics from Loughborough University, before working in sales and then management for two engineering companies, both in London. Helen is married and they have two young children. She writes songs and poems and ‘plays’ the guitar. Helen has always been passionate about sport, most recently netball, but admits that, these days, her free time is most happily spent catching up with friends over a good meal.

SEBASTIAN HARRIES (30) was brought up in Oxford and attended St Peter’s church in the village of Wolvercote. Upon leaving secondary school he spent a year working for Oxfordshire County Music Service before going on to read Music at the University of Manchester.  Whilst recovering from illness he gained an interest in theraputic practice, mindfulness meditation, and contemplative spirituality. Following university, Sebastian spent time living with different religious communities, including the Anglican Benedictines at Mucknell Abbey and the Iona Community on the Isle of Iona. Prior to training for ordination Sebastian spent a year working as a Chaplaincy Assistant at King’s College London, and during this time he lived with the Anglican Franciscan sisters in Southwark. As part of his ordination training at Westcott House, Sebastian spent five months living in Rome learning about ecumenical and interfaith relations. Sebastian’s interests predominantly involve music and drama. He plays percussion and is a keen singer. Sebastian loves being in the great outdoors, particularly cycling and hiking.

SAMUEL HOLE (31) grew up in Dulwich. Following a degree in History he trained as a history teacher, and taught in London secondary schools for five years. His recent formation at Westcott House included the completion of a PhD in Theology on the themes of desire and selfhood in the writings of sixteenth-century Spanish friar John of the Cross. In his spare time he enjoys hill-walking, cycling, cookery and the theatre.

CHIDIEBERE MBANUDE (49) was born and brought up in Eastern Nigeria. He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest in 1995 in the Missionary Society of St Paul of Nigeria. He served as a Priest in both Nigeria and Botswana before leaving the Roman Catholic Church to explore his vocation to married life and priestly ministry in the Anglican Church in 2004. Chidi holds degrees in Theology and Law and a Masters degree in Ministry. He is married with 4 children. Chidi enjoys reading and making friends and works as a housing officer at Notting Hill Housing Trust.

ANNA MOORE (39) was born and raised in London. Married with three daughters she worked for Lloyds Bank and gained a CEMAP qualification as a mortgage adviser. She has a degree in Theology. Her hobbies include gardening, taking long country walks wither dog and spending quality time with close family and friends.

JENNY MORGANS (31) was born in the South Wales valleys and lived there until she moved to Birmingham to attend university.  She completed a Masters degree in Edinburgh, and worked at a university chaplaincy in Sheffield, before returning to Birmingham for her ministerial training at the Queen's Foundation.  Jenny is writing a PhD on the faith and identity journeys of young Christian women at university.  She is married and they have a fat black cat.  Neither Jenny or her husband have lived in London before and they are both very excited about this new adventure. 

JANE PETRIE (30) was born and brought up in south London, and read History at Oxford. She spent a number of years working in marketing for a publishing house, before becoming pastoral assistant at a church in London. She enjoys walks in interesting scenery, art and craft, drawing cartoons, and spending time with friends over dinner or drinks.

MICHAEL ROBINSON (29) was born and brought up in ‘God’s Own County’ (Yorkshire). He read history at Magdalene College, Cambridge, before joining the Civil Service to work on Youth Justice Policy at the Ministry of Justice. Prior to ordination training he worked as a Parliamentary Researcher at the House of Commons. He is married and has a baby daughter. He is interested in books, beer and current affairs. He is a lifelong fan of Coronation Street.

STEPHEN SRIKANTHA (30) was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He has lived in the UK since the age of twelve. Following his father’s death, he worked briefly as a sub-postmaster whilst studying at University College London Medical School. Having been born in a Hindu family, Stephen was baptised when he was 21. He left medical school soon after to study theology at King’s College London, completing a PhD. He undertook an overseas placement in Cape Town whilst training for the priesthood at Westcott House, Cambridge. He enjoys watching cricket, cooking and following crime dramas. Stephen is eagerly looking forward to serving at St John’s.

DANIEL TROTT (31) was born and brought up in Brighton, and went to Oxford to study Japanese. After completing a DPhil in linguistics, he trained for the priesthood at Westcott House, Cambridge. Dan is a keen singer of choral music, plays the piano and occasionally the organ, and enjoys going to concerts and the opera. He also likes learning new languages and travelling.

ANDREW WOODWARD-RUSSELL (36) was born in San Fernando, Trinidad and brought up in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. He studied for a degree in Development studies and then Youth and Community Work whilst working in Halifax. Andrew is passionate about mission in deprived neighbourhoods and the world church. He was a USPG (now Us) mission companion in Tanzania for three years supporting youth development projects and more recently in South London based at an adventure playground. Andrew is married and enjoys culinary hospitality, walking in the countryside and the odd game of squash.

Note: Some of these deacons will serve in stipendiary ministry which means they receive the equivalent of a salary, others will be paid a stipend by their parish and some will be unpaid for their work as priests.