Twelve clergy have joined churches in the Stepney area of Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets following their ordination to the office of Deacon this week.

The office of Deacon is often a step on the path towards priesthood and follows two to three years of training. The new Deacons will be working in churches across the Stepney area, serving their local communities and undertaking public worship, teaching and pastoral work. After a period of around a year, a Deacon is often ordained to the priesthood.

This is the fourth successive year that the Diocese has welcomed over 40 new Deacons to London’s churches, with a total of 54 being ordained. The new Deacons will serve across 45 churches in the capital.

The Bishop of Stepney, The Rt Revd Dr Joanne Grenfell, said:

“The Stepney area is a diverse and creative place to serve Christ and our communities. I am very much looking forward to working with these twelve newly-ordained Deacons across North and East London as they grow in their faith and as local leaders. I pray that God will strengthen them to take the next step in their journey serving God and their parishes or Bishop’s Mission Orders.”

Among the new deacons is Raff Vinhas Chaves, who will be serving at All Hallows Bow. Raff, originally from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, works with the those battling addiction.

Raff commented:

“I am excited to continue learning, serving and growing as a leader, and developing whatever is needed so I can be the best I can be to all those I come across. I will continue running the Recovery Ministry, helping those managing alcohol and substance abuse to find freedom and purpose in their lives through leading them to Jesus.

“I think what will be most special, is continuing to support those in the area that are in recovery or still battling addiction, but this time around as an ordained minister. That in itself will show them that there’s hope, that I have come exactly from where they are, and that God has brought me this far, and sharing with them that what God has done to me and through me, He can and will do through them as well.”

He will be joined by fellow ordinand Andrew Large, who will be based at St John’s Hoxton.

Andrew said:

“Having moved to the neighbourhood following a sense of God’s call some twenty years ago and in that time having lived as an urban missionary, it will be a privilege to serve the parish as a curate with the visibility, recognition and access that holding a public office and wearing a dog-collar will enable. St John’s Hoxton has great relationships with local charities, schools, businesses and organisations and I will seek to foster those relationships, as well as help develop discipleship within the church. St John’s is also a member institution of ‘Hackney & Islington Citizens’ and, as one of its founding local leaders, I look forward to continuing to engage with the local community through Citizens.”

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A full list of ordinands can be found here. The new Deacons for Stepney are:

Andrew Bailey St Peter London Docks
Freya Bradley St Mary Upper St
Josh Richards St Mary Upper St
Toby Thomas SAINT/St Leonards
Louise Cathrow St John Hoxton
Rafael Vinhas Chaves All Hallows Bow
Gareth Haddow St Paul Shadwell
Jordan Prance Christ Church Spitalfields
Colin Hamilton KXC
Rebecca Hamilton KXC
Uzor Monu St John Upper Holloway
Andrew Large St John Hoxton