Meet Our New Revs 2021 - Part One

First published on: 9th July 2021

Below you can find out more about the first eight of our New Deacons. Look out for Part Two next week. 

 

Rev David Halliwell – St Ann Rainhill

 I’ve worked in a number of different jobs, from the media and journalism to management consultancy in large and smaller organisations.  I’ve lived and worked in several parts of the UK including Cornwall and London, but returned to the North-West around 8 years ago. I’m certainly a Wiganer born and bred (pies feature very highly on my list of best things)!  I’m very blessed with the gifts of being able to speak in public and to work in a team, (Useful I trust, for a vocation in ministry).

God’s call became irresistible, and I answered; it was my choice, but the peace it offers, has made me more complete I believe, but I’m definitely a work-in-progress.  I am excited to bring the gifts I have received in my life experience to be God’s servant.  The challenge is to serve in an ever-changing world, and to do my best to not allow my ministry to be always playing catch up, and not just reacting to the world we live in, but to be part of making change happen.

I’m passionate about diversity; the joy of this in our society today, and bringing God’s word to those who society has labeled and considers marginalised, whether through ethnic background, disability or people with particular life challenges; so not just doing church and ministry, but living these out in the streets.

 I’m privileged to be serving in Rainhill.  I’m most looking forward to listening to people, praying with people, and encouraging people to recognise and embrace the gifts that I believe God has given to all of us.  Also, I’m very much looking forward to the beer festival that is held in the town, and to learn more about the town’s proud railway heritage.

I hope to be able to work alongside those in the parish to step forward and be the worship leaders, preachers and prayerful disciples of the future.  My own disability (being totally blind) is, I believe a gift, and one which allows me to trust in others, and I hope for that trust to be mutual.

 

Rev Kirsty White – St Barnabas Penny Lane

I have had a few jobs whilst in education such as party host at a bowling alley (which included dressing as the mascot, Leo the lion) - super fun, toilet cleaner at a conference centre - less fun, and working for a Christian theatre company in the Midlands - super fun! Before going to train, I worked as an associate minister at St Paul’s church in Widnes with particular responsibility for Young Adults. I’m moving back to Liverpool Diocese with my husband, Dan. We’re very excited to be back near family and super excited to see what’s to come here. 

I always wanted a job that would help people in some way, growing up I wanted to be a lawyer, an interpreter or a drama therapist. Whilst doing my degree in theology and performing arts, I felt God call me to be a pastor, a leader, to tell His story and help His people. Lots of people encouraged me along the way, and I’d love to tell you the whole story some time, but after a few placements, some funny confirmations including Vicar of Dibley references and some powerful encounters with God, I knew this was it.

What excites me about this call - there are so many things - I love that I get to be a joy and hope bringer for people in the best and worst moments of their lives by making Jesus known in every place I go. What challenges me about this calling, and excites me too I guess, is that it’s huge. It’s huge to be called to lead faithful people as they seek after God, it’s huge to take on so many things where you feel out of your depth, it’s huge to be called to proclaim the Gospel in the darkest places or darkest times, but that’s why we rely on God and not on ourselves.   

I am super passionate about creative worship - especially the incredible gift of music, community building and making Jesus known and loved in our city. 

I’ll be serving at St Barnabas, Penny Lane. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the area and everyone who already calls St Barnabas home. I’m also super excited to be able to explore further how the Arts (especially music) can be missional in a place like Liverpool that is so creative. 

My hope for the future is firstly to have fun - life should be fun right? Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness! I also hope to grow in wisdom, patience, skill and faithfulness to the God we love and serve and to be part of helping many others grow to know and love Jesus too.

 

Rev Ben Dyer – St James and St Peter Birkdale

Before training for ordained ministry, I led Red Church for 8 years which was a church plant reaching young adults within the Ormskirk deanery. Before that, I was a student, tennis coach and, at 7 years old, an avid stamp collector.     

Roughly 10 years ago I felt that God may be calling me to ordained ministry and, with the encouragement of others, He continued to pester me about it until I got the message. I’m excited about church. I really, really like being a part of the church and I’m excited about serving the church in a new way. Being ordained is a huge privilege and honour but also a great responsibility for which I will need the grace of God to support me.  

Community. I love living life with others, learning from others, discovering the God who is always present with others, laughing with others and crying with others.

St James and St Peter’s in Birkdale. I am most looking forward to getting to know people in the churches and the community. They will have to bear with me because I am a Manchester United fan and, as my wife frequently reminds me, I like to think I’m quite funny but apparently, I’m not.

My hope for my curacy is that I will be able to learn, grow and find a home within the people at St James and St Peter’s and the wider community of Birkdale. I hope that I can lovingly serve that community and join in the work that God is already doing.      

 

Rev Dr Michelle Goodwin – St James in the City

I started out my career in retail management before heading off to University at 21. I gained my degree in Psychosocial Science from the University of East Anglia and, after completing my PhD in the same field, I then moved to London where I worked in the Children’s Services department of a local authority. I became a Christian in 2007 which led me to Bradford where I worked as the Development Director for a wonderful Christian charity called Mercy UK. Before I started ordination training I served as a school chaplain for six years at a joint Catholic and Church of England secondary school here in Liverpool Diocese.  

In early 2014, just a few moments after meeting him, the curate of the church we had just started attending asked me whether I had ever considered ordained ministry. Whilst my response was a quick and adamant ‘no!’, the question would not leave me alone and over the next few years a number of people asked it. It was only after one of my students suggested, out of nowhere, that ‘you should seriously consider your calling to be a vicar’ that I finally picked up the phone to the vocations team. I loved being a school chaplain and I did not want to do anything else, but, as I have taken each next step in this calling, God has grown in me an excitement for all that lies ahead.

I believe that Christian ministry is for everyone. Making the love of God known is a ministry to which we are all called and I am passionate about helping all of God’s people discern their gifts and what God might be inviting them to get involved with, and then equipping and encouraging them to have a go!

I will be serving my curacy at St. James in the City, Liverpool. My husband Daniel and I are excited to be serving within a city context for this next stage of our journey. We are really looking forward to meeting lots of new people and learning where God is already at work within St. James, and across this great city, so that we can join in with that!

There is a line within the ordination service that makes my heart sing every time I read it. It says that the role of a deacon is to work with their fellow members to reach into the forgotten corners of the world so that the love of God may be made visible. My hope is that as a ‘New Rev’, together with my St. James family and by God’s grace, we might reach into forgotten places and out to forgotten people so that God’s love might be made visible to all.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I couldn’t let this moment pass by without mention of our beautiful cocker spaniel, Bella. She has her own ministry in connecting us to new people everywhere we go and models love for all in the most beautiful and exuberant ways!

 

Rev James Wallace – St Mark Haydock

I was born and bred in Liverpool and I am married to Sara with three children (Nathaniel, Keziah and Tirzah). After leaving school I was an Optical Technician, before studying theology for the first time. After this I worked with young people and adults in various settings including as a careers advisor, which through a work colleague of mine encouraged me to apply to join the Chaplaincy team at the University of Chester where I was for the last seven years, before being recommended for ministry training. I believe that all these different roles have provided me with the soft skills needed for ministry. 

I first began to get a sense that God was calling me into ministry at 19, which led me to study theology. This calling deepened further towards being called to ministry in the Church of England at the age of 23, however, it wasn't the right time and having struggled with dyslexia from a young age and lacking confidence of not feeling good enough meant that this calling went unfulfilled for some years. God then reminded me of this calling when Magdelen Smith was preaching at the University of Chester Chapel on vocation, which prompted me to begin the discernment process. What excites me was having a life and ministry fulfilled, because that this calling is about Jesus and not about me, finally, I am excited to serve the church in leadership, preaching, encouraging people to share their faith and seeing people come to faith so that the Church flourishes. There has been and continues to be many challenges because it helps keep me humble and reminds me to trust God through it all. 

I am passionate about mission, evangelism and discipleship. I believe when these three are prioritised it can create a flourishing church where the worship of Jesus and loving our neighbour is central to all we do. This can mean as a church getting our hands dirty and taking risks but at the same time proclaiming the good news through words, action and in the power of the Spirit. I am praying that as we enter a post-pandemic world that the church will focus on those most in need both practically and spiritually. 

I will be serving as a stipendary curate at St. Mark's, Haydock. At St. Mark's there's a lot to get involved in both the community and in the church, I'm looking forward to getting to know the people, exploring new opportunities for mission, serving the church ministerially and gaining new experience and training from working with my Training Incumbent. 

I'm hopeful for the future despite the many challenges that face the Church. My prayer is that the Church would experience a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will impact and the parishes it serves offering hope in an uncertain post-pandemic world; I hope more than ever that the Church would be a people of action not just talking about grace, compassion, hope and love but being a living sacrament that feeds the poor, challenges injustice and helps people encounter Jesus in an authentic way. 

 

Rev Jennifer Brady – Our Lady and St Nicholas Liverpool

I am married to Kevin and we have an adult daughter, Lily. I have been a social worker since 2004 and my current role is an Independent Reviewing Officer. I will continue in this role as I will be a Self Supporting Minister. My job and serving God are a huge part of my identity. 

I felt specifically called to ministry following a difficult year in 2011. I saw God's hand in my life and the lives of my close family and I knew I needed to serve in some way. I was Licensed as a Lay Reader in 2016 and this has been fulfilling, but the call to ordained ministry was still strong. I was excited and still am, to serve God and others. 

I love preaching the Gospel and helping people to develop as disciples. I am an encourager and I love to share with others different ways of praying, such as Lectio Divina and contemplative prayer. I like to empower others to recognise and use their gifts in God's service.

I will be serving at Our Lady and St Nicholas- Liverpool Parish Church and St Athanasius in Kirkdale. I am looking forward to getting to know the people in these two different worshipping communities. I am keen to take up opportunities to further share the Gospel and share the love of Jesus with people. 

My hopes are that I work hard and develop my ministry in my curacy, enjoy this next chapter and see what God has in store for me and the worshipping communities in which I will serve. 

This has been a long journey to reach this place of ordination. It has all been in God's timing and I am extremely grateful to have journeyed on this path. I look forward with excitement to the future. 

 

Rev Jackie Davies – Christ Church Aughton

I have lived in Old Swan all my life, with my family close by.  I have always worked in the care or education field, from Alder Hey to Liverpool City Council as a Special Educational Learning Support Assistant where I have been looking after a little girl with complex needs for the last 5-6 years.

I have always felt a pull towards the Lord and ministry. Attending so many courses wanting to know that little bit more. The relationship that I have with God is what excites and challenges me. I want to do my best to serve all God's people in any way that I am challenged to do so.

The aspect of ministry that I am most passionate about is the inclusion of all people irrespective of their abilities, race, sexuality and so on. I know that God is a God of love, and that his love is for each and every one of us. I think this passion arises from my work within an SEN environment along with the loving relationships that I have with many different people.

I will be serving in the parish of Christ Church, Aughton. This is a welcoming and thriving parish with so many aspects of mission and outreach. I am looking forward to serving within this community and also to new projects and links that will hopefully be made with the local SEN school and nearby University.

My main hope for the future and my future ministry is that I serve God and his people in any way that I can. To be an approachable, and inclusive minister in every way that I possibly can.

I would just like to say that I am honoured that God called me by name. God sees many skills in so many people, even people like me.

 

Rev Debbie Lovatt – St Elphin Warrington

The earliest I remember expressing a calling was at age 7. It remained strong throughout my teens until having to be suppressed because of being female and women not being accepted into the priesthood. This led me on a course that took me to the Middle East for the next twenty or so years where I worked in journalism and as a lecturer in International Relations and became a mum.

As the years passed I felt an increasingly nagging persistence about God’s calling. Returning to England in 2015 opened up the possibility of training for ordination. That was simultaneously thrilling and challenging as it meant I was at last on track, but that I had to drop some of the aspects of ministry that I loved in order to concentrate on studying.

I love seeing where God is at work in people’s lives. I’m passionate about prayer – it’s how we talk to God and hear back. How amazing is that! Poverty and the damage it does to individuals, families and communities really bothers me and I want to be part of a church that is alongside those in need whilst working to redress that systemic injustice.

I will be serving at St Elphin’s, the Parish Church in Warrington. I’m looking forward to getting to know the people of this church and town, and exploring the possibilities God opens up for ministry.

My hopes for the future revolve around faith and action, that people of faith will continue to make a lasting difference individually and collectively for themselves and others, now and for the decades to come.

 


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