Meet the Ordinands 2024

First published on: 12th June 2024

Congratulations to our ordinands who will become deacons and priests this Petertide. Deborah Ehala is to be ordained Deacon later in the year.

Ordinations will take place on Saturday 29 June, Sunday 30 June and Tuesday 2 July with three people being ordained as priests and six as deacons. 

Our soon-to-be deacons will be serving their titles in parishes across our Diocese – please give them a warm welcome if you see them in your parish. Our new priests, who began ordained ministry as deacons last year, will continue to serve their existing parishes as curates.

The services will be live-streamed on YouTube. Watch the Priest Ordination Service at 11am on 29 June here. Watch the Deacon Ordination Service at 3pm on 30 June here

You can find out more about each of our ordinands below...


James Bartle

To serve in the benefice of Horton & Newsham in Blyth. 

Prior to being called to ordination training, James was an HR Manager. He’s spent the last 3 years training at Cranmer Hall. James has particularly enjoyed having the opportunity to Pontifical Beda College in Rome and the Ecumenical Institute in Switzerland which has given him a passion for ecumenism which he’d like to continue persuing once ordained. James is looking forward to serving as Assistant Curate in the benefice of Horton & Newsham in Blyth.

Deborah Ehala - to be ordained later in the year

To serve St. Bartholomew’s Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. 

Deborah is a nurse who for a long time thought that being a Reader was the role she was meant to inhabit. For a while she ignored God nudging her towards a different calling (a bit like Jonah) but eventually she listened and decided to study part-time at Lindisfarne College of Theology while continuing to work. Deborah, who recorded this message in early June,  is excited to be returning to her home parish of St. Bartholomew’s Newbiggin-by-the-Sea to serve her curacy.

Jon Grogan

To serve St. John’s Percy Main and St. Peter’s Balkwell.

Whilst taking on a ministerial role has always been something Jon has considered, until recently he was unsure about how to fit this around his career as a lawyer. Thankfully, his law firm have been really supportive, allowing him to go part-time during training at Lindisfarne College of Theology and this will continue throughout his curacy which he will serve at St. John’s Percy Main and St. Peter’s Balkwell.

Abi Harris

To serve Hexham Abbey.

Abi has had quite a journey to ordination. Coming to faith in her late teens and baptised in the Roman Catholic Church, Abi moved to France aged 19 to join a convent. After leaving monastic life behind, she initially struggled before moving to Benwell and taking part in the Ministry Experience Scheme where her faith was re-ignited. Abi has spent the past four years studying at Westcott House and is looking forward to serving her curacy at Hexham Abbey.

Lee Kirkby

To serve St. Thomas’ Newcastle.

Lee first started pondering ordained ministry 15 years ago when others around him recognised his calling before he did. Lee admits to spending years putting it off but in the end, God’s call was inescapable. Lee has trained at Cranmer Hall where he’s found joy in being more disciplined, something he’s sure will help sustain him in his future ministry. He’s looking forward to serving at St. Thomas’ and making God’s love known. 

Claire Lewis

To serve St. Mary’s Monkseaton.

Claire has been warden and treasurer at St. Margaret’s Scotswood for many years but kept putting off her calling to ordination. After finally following it through, Claire studied at Cranmer Hall where she loved every minute. Claire is really excited to serve her curacy at St. Mary’s Monkseaton and find out what God has in store next.

Francesca Walsh

As a child and well into adulthood, Francesca never expected ordination to be for her so she’s finding it an interesting change to navigate away from plans she had laid for herself as she is preparing for ordination in a couple of short weeks. Francesca and her family have spent the last three years in Durham while she trained residentially at Cranmer Hall. Having moved up to Newcastle for university many years ago however, she is finding it to be such a joy to be serving her curacy in this beautiful part of the world, at St. Peter’s Monkseaton.





Alex Firman

Moving his family up to the North East from Oxford for his curacy has definitely been an adventure! Alex has been made to feel very welcome in Norham Deanery and has particularly enjoyed going into local schools and the opportunity to work in a farming community having previously been market gardener. Once priested, he’s looking forward to living out the declarations made during the ordination service.

Mairi Howell

Mairi has really enjoyed serving her deacon’s year at St. Paul’s Cullercoats where she’s felt well-supported. The church has strong community links and she’s particularly enjoyed collaborating with external organisations such as Age UK on a dementia group. Mairi is looking forward to ordination and is excited to find out what God has in store for her next. To hear more about Mairi's year as a deacon, you can also listen to her podcast here.

Hannah Malcolm

Serving the parish of Christ the King.

Hannah has enjoyed being Assistant Curate in the parish of Christ the King, working across Brunton Park, Great Park, Wideopen and Brunswick village. Her family have felt warmly welcomed by the parish and she’s particularly enjoyed helping to lead a range of community outreach events and discipleship groups. She’s excited to see what lies ahead after ordination to the priesthood and looks forward to learning how to inhabit the call God has given her.

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