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Letter from the Deacon - August 2022

As I sit at home in Athy, Co. Kildare on a beautiful August morning, I am awaiting in joyful anticipation the beginning of my Deacon Intern placement in Taney Parish in September 2022. I live on the edge of what was my parent’s and is now my brother’s farm, so my identity is rooted in a rural farming family. Growing up, we were deeply immersed in parish life in Athy Union. My faith was established and nurtured through children’s Parish activities and further developed during my secondary school life in Kilkenny College.

I have worked in Administration in The Representative Church Body, also in an Irish insurance company and with Christian Aid Ireland. I am married to Dermot, who works in the financial sector, and we have three children. Jamie is at college, Ellen has just completed her Leaving Certificate and Kate is about to commence Transition Year.

When I reflect on a sense of vocational calling, I can discern that God’s calling has been consistently present in my life since my teenage years. Encouraged by my Rector, Rev’d Cliff Jeffers, I undertook the Archbishops Course in Theology between 2008 and 2010. This course was instrumental in developing the sense of calling but as a mother of three young children, I also knew deep down that the time was not right at that point. After an eight-year period at home full-time with our children, during which time I was very active in volunteer roles in the Parish, the school and in Christian Aid, I began a part-time role as Church & Community Officer with Christian Aid Ireland in 2015. I have travelled overseas twice with Christian Aid to Zimbabwe and India, both experiences having a profound impact on my personality.

Christ’s command in Matthew 22:37-39, to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and our neighbour as ourselves sums up the basis of my personal faith, my absolute love for God and my desire to serve him in all that I do. This foundation in my faith easily aligned with Christian Aid’s belief in equality, dignity, and freedom for all people, recognising the image of God in every person and responding to Christ’s command to love our global neighbour.

My role in Christian Aid ensured that I spent lots of time with Church congregations and my sense of God gently guiding me towards exploring ordained ministry was a feeling I could no longer delay. I was encouraged and supported in the discernment process by my Rector, Rev’d Olive Donohoe, and by members of the congregation in Athy Union, as well as the Diocesan Vocations Group. Under the guidance of The Archbishop, I was recommended to go forward to Selection Conference in 2019. I began the part-time Master in Theology course (M.Th.) in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. I have been truly blessed in the people I have encountered through this process and the experiences I have had on placements in Kildare and Newbridge Union, Crumlin and Chapelizod, and Christ Church Cathedral.

Throughout my training, my faith continues to deepen and my desire to see others develop their personal relationship with God motivates me. I look forward to humbly serving God this year under the guidance of the Rector, the Rev’d Nigel Pierpoint and his Ministry Team alongside you all in Christ Church and St Nahi’s. In the words of Saint Paul to the Romans, my desire is to; ‘… rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who are weeping.’ (Romans 12:15).