Bishop Andy to ordain first pioneer ministers in the Diocese of Bangor

R to L - Martin Pritchard, Miriam Beecroft, Alison Gwalchmai, Bishop Andy John, Tania ap Siôn, Jon Price

This Saturday (June 25,  2016) is an important day for the Diocese of Bangor, as 5 people will be ordained by the Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andrew John, at the annual ordination service in Bangor Cathedral at 3pm.

Alison Gwalchmai, Jon Price and Martin Pritchard will be ordained as deacons. Miriam Beecroft and Tania ap Sion will be ordained as priests.
Jon Price and Martin Pritchard will be the first people to be ordained as Pioneer Ministers in the Diocese of Bangor. It has been discerned that their calling and role is specifically to minister and work amongst the many people who have little contact or experience with the Church or Christian faith, and to find new ways of being Church and expressing Christian faith.
Commenting on the service, the Bishop of Bangor, the Right Rev’d Andrew John, said, ‘Ordination services are joyous occasions. It will be a special day for Alison, Miriam, Tania, Jon and Martin as their Christian journeys begin a new chapter. We hold them in our love and prayers. Jesus was a pioneer, and all clergy are called to be pioneers. However, throughout its history the Church has set some people apart for specific roles, and this is why I am very excited about Jon and Martin becoming our Diocese’s first ordained Pioneer Ministers.
“The church is there for everybody, but traditional ways of worship and ministry don’t resonate with everyone, and so the Church has to be flexible enough to meet people where they are. It will be Jon and Martin’s specific ministry to enable the Church to do exactly this, meet people where they are.’
Alison Gwalchmai will become a non-stipendiary* curate in the Bro Arwystli Ministry Area (Llanidloes and surrounding area). Alison was born in London but moved to Llandinam in 1989 to work at the Broneirion centre with Guides Cymru. She has since worked for Laura Ashley and more recently CellPath in Newtown. She is married to Wynn, and enjoys knitting, fly-fishing and drama amongst other things! She was licensed as a Reader in 2009.
Looking forward to the ordination service, Alison said, ‘As I approach ordination as a deacon, I am feeling excited, and also have a sense of trepidation about the ministry to which God is calling me. The communities that have come to know me have seen the change that God has made to my life. It will be a privilege to continue to work alongside people in these communities, as well as being part of Bro Arwystli’s ministry team.’
Jon Price will become a Pioneer Minister in the Bro Arwystli Ministry Area (Llanidloes and surrounding area). Jon was born and brought up in Ceredigion and in 2007 began training with the Church Army, before being commissioned as a Church Army Officer in 2009. In 2013 he became one of the Diocese of Bangor’s Children’s, Youth and Family Ministry enablers, working in the southern part of the Diocese of Bangor. He is married with one child.
Reflecting on his new ministry, Jon said, ‘It excites me that God is able to transform lives, families, and communities. It is humbling to think that God knows me and despite that wants to work through me as an ordained Pioneer Minister!  I have a strong interest in Fresh Expressions, which involves new ways of doing church that meet people where they are in life and in their spiritual journey. I very much look forward to working with the people of Bro Arwystli and to discover new ways of doing things for God’s Kingdom.’
Martin Pritchard will become a Pioneer Minister in the Bro Deiniol Ministry Area in Bangor. He studied Drama at the Universities of Aberystwyth  and Bangor, as well as working his way up to a senior management position within a national sales firm. He was 14 years old when he first has a sense of being called to ordained ministry, which developed further during his Drama studies in Bangor in 2009. Since then Martin has been an active lay minister. He is married to Vicky and they are also foster carers. In his spare time Martin likes to run, cycle and swim.
Looking forward to his ordination Martin said “It has been a long time since I first recognised God’s call and I look forward to the privilege of serving all God’s people and hope to help people recognise the good that faith can do in our communities. I know that being an ordained minister will not be not be easy, but I’m looking forward immensely to assisting Dean Kathy and her team to worship God, inspire new disciples and love the world here in Bangor.”
Miriam Beecroft was ordained as a deacon last year and will continue to serve as a curate in the Bro Ardudwy Ministry Area which serves the towns and communities around Barmouth and Harlech. Reflecting on the last 12 months, Miriam said, ‘It has been a time of change – after moving house and beginning work in a new place, my husband, Darren, and I welcomed our daughter Anwen into the world. We have enjoyed her first seven months tremendously. Life as a curate and a new mother requires good time management, a supportive family and understanding congregations, but is totally possible and provides many joyful opportunities. I’m looking forward to fulfilling my calling as a priest in Bro Ardudwy.
Tania ap Siôn was also ordained as a deacon last year and will continue to serve as a curate in the Bro Tysilio Ministry Area which the serves the towns and communities around Menai Bridge and Benllech on Anglesey. Looking forward to her ordination as a priest, Tania said ‘Each one of us has been given an amazing opportunity to bring something special and unique to where we find ourself. This will be something that no one else can bring in quite the same way. It should not be confused with playing out the functions of a role, although a role will be distinctively shaped by it. The real challenge is always to discern what that means for you in the everyday and to recognise its presence in those around you.’