TWO newly ordained deacons will be serving churches near Tenbury.

Ten candidates have been part of a new training pathway aimed at those who see their vocation as being non-stipendiary (voluntary) ministers to churches in the Worcestershire Diocese.

All those being ordained have already been involved in lay ministry within their parish and were nominated by their incumbents to join the two-year training scheme.

They are currently at the start of their second year and will continue training while also working in their parishes as a curate.

The ordination services were led by the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge and candidates were ordained by the Bishop of Dudley, Martin Gorick. The Archdeacon of Worcester, Robert Jones, preached having led a quiet day for the candidates ahead of their ordination.

Jen Jones was one of those ordained, and will be serving in the benefice of Teme Valley South, while  Sally Knowles will serve in the Worcestershire West Rural Team Ministry Bishop John said: “This is a very exciting time in the life of the diocese of Worcester when we ordain more people as deacon on one occasion than has happened for a long time - possibly ever. Those to be ordained, who have worked very hard in preparation, will be a great blessing to the church and to the world and I pray for God’s rich blessing on their future ministry.”

Jen Jones said she was "in floods of tears" when the opportunity for ordination arose.

"At the time I was training for lay ministry and it’s been hard work balancing and completing the licenced lay ministry training course and working towards retirement at the end of March, but it has all been worth it. I’m really enjoying the auxiliary pathway training and the support from the training team has been brilliant."

Retired physiotherapist Sally Knowles said ordained ministry had been at the back of her mind for a long time, but that she could never see herself going to theological college due to her job satisfaction.

"My initial thoughts were ‘God has finally cornered me; how was I going to get out of this?’," she said.

"Having retired, I had no excuses and God has affirmed to me in so many ways over the last twelve months that I am finally doing the right thing and putting Him first. I have enjoyed every minute of the course and look forward to serving Him in the years ahead in my new role."