THE new Archdeacon of Lindisfarne has described her ‘joy’ as she begins her ministry and new role in our diocese.
The Venerable Dr Catherine Sourbut Groves was collated by Bishop Christine at a special Zoom service online on Saturday 14 November.
Originally, the ceremony was due to take place in person at St Aidan’s Church in Bamburgh, but plans had to be adapted following the announcement of a second national lockdown.
Catherine, 53, said: “There was a real sense of occasion despite it being on Zoom and I felt very emotional throughout the service.
“It was a real bonus that my family and friends, many of whom realistically wouldn’t have been able to make the journey to be present at my collation, could watch the service on Zoom. My uncle who is in his 90s and lives in Exeter watched it in the same way that someone in Newcastle did.”
Catherine thanked Bishop Christine for her warm welcome and to Diocesan Secretary Shane Waddle who ensured the technicalities of the service went off without a hitch.
The new archdeacon takes over from the Venerable Peter Robinson, who earlier this year moved to become Dean of Derby.
Catherine, who was brought up in Yorkshire, has spent the last 30 years in the South West where she was ordained in 2007. Until recently, she was the vicar of St Barnabas and St Peter’s in the Diocese of Bath and Wells and Prebendary of Wells Cathedral.
She has had a number of additional roles including being Chaplain to the Mayor of Bath, Diocesan Vocations Chaplain and Archdeaconry Advisor on Women’s Ministry.
Catherine was also co-leader of a ‘virtual deanery’ – called Magnificat Parishes Group – which was made up of disadvantaged parishes in the Diocese of Bath and Wells. She was an instrumental figure in the group which was set up to respond to the challenges of overseeing ministry and mission in less affluent parishes.
Catherine, who has moved to Northumberland with her husband Mike, is excited to bring her experience, knowledge and pioneer ministry background to our diocese.
She said: “It feels good to be back in the north. We love the area and we love Northumberland – the people have been really fantastic.
“I have spent a lot of time with Bishop Christine and the senior staff team, learning how the team functions and the aims and priorities in our diocese.
“I hope clergy and lay people alike will find me approachable and I look forward to learning from people about what God is doing in their context. I will be travelling around the diocese – as much as is practicable at the moment - and will be also meeting people on Zoom.”
Catherine will be leading the rural strand of our Growing Church Bringing Hope vision, and will be addressing the challenges and opportunities of ministry during the Covid pandemic.
She added: “There was something about the experience of lockdown, as there was more time to reflect and pray and think about the bigger picture. The fact we are in a pandemic is making us all think in a more pioneering way. We have to plan at a strategic level and we need to rethink about how we can ‘be church’ in a world of Covid, and how we emerge in the aftermath – we have to be imaginative, creative and pioneering.”
Catherine and Mike, who have two grown up children, enjoy spending time outdoors and are looking forward to exploring everything our beautiful diocese has to offer.
If you would like to get in touch with Catherine, please email her at Lindisfarne@newcastle.anglican.org or call 0191 2704166 ext 266/ 07436 220872.