Saturday was an important day for the Diocese of Bangor, as three women were ordained by the Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andrew John, at the annual ordination service in Bangor Cathedral.
Miriam Beecroft and Tania ap Sion were ordained as a deacons and Rev’d Naomi Starkey was ordained as a priest.
The Rev’d Naomi Starkey was ordained a deacon 12 months ago and has been a non-stipendiary (unpaid) curate (trainee vicar) in the Bro Cyfeiliog and Mawddwy Ministry Area (Machynlleth, Cemmaes and surrounding area), but is about to move to Aberdaron to be part of the Bro Enlli Ministry Area.
Commenting on her ordination, Naomi said: ‘I have been privileged to work alongside and learn from Canon Kath Rogers during my year as a deacon and benefited greatly from her thorough and patient training.
“Highlights have included leading a Lent course, the Diocesan Fun Day in Machynlleth, singing Gosber (an evening Welsh service), visiting in the local hospitals, and getting to know the churches and communities of Bro Cyfeiliog and Mawddwy.
“During the year, I was surprised to realise that I felt called to full-time ministry sooner rather than later. So, I have said goodbye to the Bible Reading Fellowship after working with them as an editor for 18 years! I am now looking forward very much to moving to Aberdaron, joining the Bro Enlli team and taking my first steps not only as a stipendiary priest, but also in exploring what it means to be ‘Rev/Parch Naomi’!.’
Miriam Beecroft will now become the curate in the Bro Ardudwy Ministry Area (Harlech and surrounding area).
Miriam is originally from Formby near Liverpool, but came to study at the university in Aberystwyth in 2004, and has been in Wales ever since. She has ministered as a lay person in Aberystwyth and Lisvane, Cardiff. She also spent 2 years training at St. Michael’s College in Llandaff and is married to Darren. Miriam lists her pastimes as being a Brownie leader, playing the piano, learning Welsh and eating cake! However she and Darren are also parents-in-training, as they are expecting their first child in November!
Talking before the ordination service, Miriam said: ‘I first sensed a calling to ordained ministry ten years ago, and the process of getting to this point has had its slightly unconventional moments.
“However, God has been leading me the whole way, and I consider my years in full-time church employment either side of my time at theological college to have been not only good experience, but highly significant in terms of God’s work of preparing me for this moment. My husband and I are really looking forward to making our home in Bro Ardudwy. I feel ready to be used by God in new ways in a new place, ministering alongside new people, and in that sense I acknowledge the need to step forward faithfully and trust God continually.’
Tania ap Sion will become the a non-stipendiary curate in the Bro Tysilio Ministry Area (Menai Bridge, Benllech and surrounding area). She will continue with her academic career, but will also be part of the Bro Tysilio Ministry Team.
Having graduated in Theology at Oxford University, Tania came to North Wales to continue her theological studies as a postgraduate, and then trained as a secondary school Religious Education teacher.
She taught for a few years before becoming a Lecturer in Religious Education at Bangor University. Since then, she has remained in the university sector, although her research has broadened to include empirical theology and the psychology of religion.
She is presently Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Sciences at Glyndwr University and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Warwick. She has published research in a number of areas, though her greatest interest and focus over the past ten years has been research into prayer and religious experience.
Tania said: ‘I’m excited at the prospect of being ordained and I feel very aware of the weight of service that comes with this. I hope to encourage the Church to be courageous, open and responsive to contemporary searches for authenticity and meaning.
“One of the strengths of the Anglican Church in Wales and England is its unique parochial ministry to ‘all the people’. The pressures and constraints of contemporary ordained ministry are many, but I’m looking forward to serving God’s people and playing some part in ensuring that this unique ministry ‘to all people’ is not lost.’
Commenting on the service, the Bishop of Bangor, the Right Rev’d Andrew John, said: ‘Every Christian person has a call to serve and it is always encouraging when people commit themselves to serving God in this way. For Naomi, Miriam and Tania that desire has lead them through their training and now to their ordination. Saturday was a special day for them and for the Diocese of Bangor. We hold them in our love and prayers.’