Great news of another deacon joining our ranks soon – the first in her diocese! Welcome Gerrie Sturgeon. Her parish mag article says:
A New Distinctive Deacon in the Parish
Distinctive Deacons have been around in the Church of England for about 50 years but they are still very thin on the ground. Sheffield Diocese, like many others, has not had a Distinctive Deacon anywhere in the Diocese but the first one, Gerrie Sturgeon, will be Ordained in Sheffield Cathedral on July 2nd and will then be licensed to work in the Parish of Abbeydale and Millhouses for four years. The Deacon’s ministry is described as being a bridge between the community and the church, bringing the needs of the community to the church and the love of God to the community. It is quite definitely a community based ministry.
I have been a Lay Reader in the Parish of Abbeydale and Millhouses for the last 3 years and have loved my life in the church, helping to lead services and preaching, visiting older members of the congregation who can no longer get to church and being involved in the weekly prayer group. But it seemed to me that God wanted me to do more, in particular I felt a call to be a visible presence of Christ and his church in the community. So after a lengthy selection process and a year’s training at St Hild College Mirfield I am ready to step out and answer that call.
So how does serving people outside as well as inside the church family look for me? I have a heart for working with the elderly and those suffering with Dementia. I have first-hand experience of caring for someone with Alzheimers Disease and I am passionate about putting those experiences and that knowledge to work for the benefit of other people. In the weeks and months ahead I will be working with others in the church to see how we can best support Dementia sufferers and their carers. But as anyone who has cared for someone with Dementia will know, every case is different and I need to know from you how you think I and the church might really help you. I also know how lonely old age can be, particularly if family has moved away and you live on your own. We want to serve you too.
God has also laid on my heart a real concern for issues of poverty and injustice. This is likely to mean that some of my working hours will be spent outside the parish. It is in any case a large parish geographically so you might not see me in the shops and cafes every day but if you do please come up and speak to me, or leave a note for me at the back of church if you would like to meet up for a chat.
I am your Deacon and I would love to get to know you.