Our Vocations Team

Director of Vocations

Suzanne Matthews 

Suzanne is working with a newly formed Vocations Team to promote, encourage and nurture a wide variety of lay and ordained vocations within the rapidly changing context of the national and local church. With the team she will seek to ensure that vocational opportunities ensure that the people God is calling are released into opportunities with appropriate support and training to ensure that there is support for; continuing to deepen the discipleship journeys of all God’s people, and increase the number and variety of Christian leaders who are able to lead God’s people in introducing more people to God whilst take their active part in seeking God’s justice in the world. Suzanne holds this role alongside a Change Facilitator role in the St Helens Fit for Mission project. She is looking forward to weaving together all of the exciting opportunities for lay and ordained vocations within this context and is excited to be part of actively seeking God with others for the future of the Church and communities that she and the team love along with those seeking, loving and serving God in their parishes, families, workplaces and networks.

Email: Suzanne Matthews


Vocations Coordinator

Sam Stanford

Sam works to provide a range of support and opportunities for exploring and developing lay vocations and ministries. She facilitates the Directions course which is a course for anyone across the diocese who would like to explore how God may be calling them to use their gifts, skills and passion for in the world and the church. She develops LifeCall events which provide opportunities to explore specific ministries across a whole spectrum of ways to serve in Christian ministry. Sam also provides pastoral and training support for our commissioned Local Missional Leaders and Reader selection process and Readers in training. Sam continues to work closely with Bob Banton, Learning Manager for Post-Licencing Reader training and CPD.

Sam enjoys spending time with people as they explore and develop in what God is calling them into next, she’s looking forward to meeting more new people to help and support them in their seeking, listening, development and next steps.

Email: Sam Stanford


Cultivate Lead

Rev Frank Hinds

Frank is working directly with the first cohort of Fit for Mission parishes, with Kate Eaglestone, to deliver and develop the Cultivate Pathway in partnership with the local Growth Team. Together they are helping the new larger parishes engage deeper in a journey of missional discipleship which is available to everyone. This work brings together the hopes to start many diverse new worshipping communities and justice initiatives with a refreshed mission plan for the new parish. Those who engage with this journey may find at various stages that they link to other areas of our vocational opportunities and will be supported as they develop in their new roles by the wider Vocations Team.

Frank is really looking forward to working in St Helens and West Derby to support the growth and development of emerging lay leaders and those who will begin and join new worshipping communities.

Email: Frank Hinds


Diocesan Director of Ordinands

Rev Harry Wood

Harry takes responsibility within the Vocations Team for ensuring that our vision for the continuing flourishing of ordained ministry is realised for both priestly ministry and for the distinctive diaconate within the developing landscape of Fit for Mission larger single parishes. Harry is the key link to the national vocations team whilst leading and supporting our local DDO team. Harry particularly works with candidates for ordination in the second stages of their discernment process including preparation for panels, working with the outcomes of national selection processes, agreeing training pathways and liaising with theological colleges.

Harry is looking forward to strengthening links with our theological education partners, and developing vocational pathways for distinctive deacons. He is looking forward to meeting more people who God is calling to ordained ministry and working with them into the future.

Harry is inhabiting this role alongside his ministry as a parish priest in St Helens.

Email: Harry Wood


Deputy Director of Ordinands

Debbie Ellison

Debbie has worked within vocational work in this diocese for over a decade and is passionate about making it possible for a wide diversity of people to be able to explore a potential call to ordained ministry. She is the first point of contact for anyone considering exploring ordination or for clergy in the diocese seeking support in nurturing ordained vocations in others. She is able to connect people with opportunities for exploration of vocation across the diocese having worked with people in every deanery during her time here. Debbie works closely with Harry in the pastoral support of our candidates from first enquiry through to the end of training. Debbie ensures that the financial processes needed for ordinands and curates are in place.

Debbie is really looking forward to working with this new team as we find more ways to engage with more people who God is calling to all kinds of ministry, mission and service.

Email: Debbie Ellison


Learning Manager for Ministry Development

Rev Michelle Goodwin

Michelle will be taking oversight of the development of training and development opportunities for ordained and lay leaders. She will work collaboratively to develop a framework of learning that provides simple, staged ways for our leaders to continue to develop in the skills needed for mission and ministry in the future. Michelle will continue to work with Rev Steve Pierce, Director of Learning and Resources on all areas related to learning and development. She will be helping to support individuals and teams in embedding ongoing development of skills and understanding to be able to fulfil the missional priorities we are committed to.

Michelle is looking forward to learning from the developments of the Cultivate pathway on the ground, listening to the current and future needs of lay and ordained leaders to ensure they can be equipped and supported as God continues to guide and call individuals and communities.

Michelle is inhabiting this role alongside her ministry as a curate in St Helens.

Email: Michelle Goodwin


Learning Manager for Curacy

Rev Gill Hitchen

Gill is working directly with curates and those directly involved in their training from overseeing the process for appointing curacies through to curates securing first posts beyond their initial training post. She will be responsible for ensuring curates and local supervisors are supported and guided through the appropriate training pathway and will provide ongoing pastoral support. She will be working closely with Michelle to fully integrate specific curate training with our whole missional training opportunities.

Gill is really looking forward to getting to know all of the curates and their supervisors and seeking new ways to support and encourage them during this stage of training as they continue to discern where and what God is calling them to.

Gill is inhabiting this role alongside her ministry as a parish priest in Warrington.

Email: Gill Hitchen

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