A mum-of-three is swopping teaching for preaching as she begins a new life in church ministry this week.
Rosemary Hill along with Charlotte Rushton, Mark Broadway, Peter Godsall and Jude Peters, were ordained as deacons by the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Davies – the Church in Wales’ Senior Bishop – at Llandaff Cathedral, on Saturday, June 24.
The former teacher will serve as assistant curate in Penarth and Llandough (St Augustine’s); Charlotte, a former police civilian finance team leader, will serve as assistant curate in the parish of Merthyr Tydfil, St David and Abercanaid and Mark, a former legal worker, will serve as assistant curate in Coity, Nolton and Brackla with Coychurch.
Retired health and safety advisor Peter, will serve as assistant curate (NSM Local) in the parish of Aberdare, St Fagans and Jude Peters, a reception administrator in the Llandaff Diocesan office at Coychurch, Bridgend, will serve as assistant curate (NSM) in the Rectorial Benefice of Llantwit Major. As non-stipendiary ministers both Peter and Jude will carry out their work for the church alongside their paid or other roles.
During the service – in which four deacons were also ordained as priests – the sermon was given by the Revd Dr Trystan Owain Hughes, Diocesan Director of Vocations, who told the new deacons and priests that taking Christ into the communities where they served was at the heart of ordained ministry.
“Your call as deacons and priests is to show people what God is by reaching out into your communities,” said Dr Owain Hughes.
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Rosemary Hill, 36, whose brother is a priest, was brought up an Anglican in her home town of Bridgend and spent a decade teaching English before training for the priesthood.
As one of five children Rosemary was a regular at Sunday school, acting as an altar server at St Mary’s Church, Nolton and from the age of six she was a chorister – achieving the Dean’s Award from the Royal School of Church Music.
It was in her teens while witnessing her brother Matthew training for ministry and while she was acting as an altar server that she first thought of becoming a priest herself.
“As time went by though I decided it was too scary and I became less active in the church,” said Rosemary, a mum of three children, aged 14, 10 and seven.
But the call to priesthood was to return some years later and the journey to ordination began after a chat with her parish priest.
“I absolutely loved teaching particularly the pastoral side of it but ordination felt the right path for me – going right back to when I was a young child sitting in church looking up at the priest wondering what it felt like to be up there.
“I am excited but a bit scared as well, as I don’t think that you can go into such a big position of service – and that’s what it is, it’s not a job, it’s a vocation – and not be a little apprehensive. Sacramental ministry is the most exciting part.
“I am really looking forward to be able to be with people at their most vulnerable and their most joyous as this is a privilege that not many people have.”
Charlotte Rushton, 42, is delighted to be returning to her home town of Merthyr Tydfil.
Married to Craig and with a seven-year-old daughter, Charlotte spent many years doubting God as a teenager after witnessing the sudden death of a fellow pupil from epilepsy as a schoolgirl.
Although her family was involved in the local non-conformist chapel and she was encouraged to attend Sunday school, it wasn’t until her mid-twenties when she met her husband, a Christian, that she returned fully to the Church.
“He offered to take me to church and I’ve never looked back – it was a case of ‘God had called me home’,” she said.
“We walked into Llantrisant Church and straight away it felt like home. Then as I became more involved in the life of the church – with youth work and ecumenical work – the more content I became. I remember sitting in church once and looking up at the priest and thinking it should be me doing that.”
Now with training and ordination under her belt, Charlotte is really excited about getting to work in her new parish.
“I can’t wait, I’m looking forward to teaching those that are in church and helping them progress deeper into their faith. I also love evangelism – I just want to sit in the local pub and tell people about Jesus.”
Mark Broadway, 29, a former legal worker who moved to Wales from Burnham-on-Sea to read law at the University of Glamorgan, is also looking forward to parish ministry.
Although he went to church occasionally as a child, it was not until he was 16 that he became a Christian because of the outreach work of a free church that he had become involved with.
“I felt a call to some sort of ministry but I wasn’t sure how I fitted in until I went to university and became an Anglican and got confirmed at St Catherine’s Church in Pontypridd. Anglicanism offered me a better insight into what type of ministry I could do,” said Mark, who is married to Bianca and has two young children.
“My passion is preaching and teaching but I am really looking forward to carrying out baptisms and I am very excited about getting to know the church community in Bridgend.”
Peter Godsall, 62, has come full circle and is returning to serve as an NSM Local in the church at Aberdare, St Fagans where he was baptised.
“I know the parish and I understand the diversity of people in the area,” said Peter, who is married to Marian and has a grown-up son Tim, and becomes the second NSM Local appointed in the diocese.
As a child Peter sang in the choir at St John the Baptist, Aberdare before boarding at Christ College, Brecon from the age of 11, when his family moved abroad as his father was a mining engineer who worked in Peru.
“Although I went to church every day while I was at boarding school, I drifted away from church after leaving school, until in my twenties I met my wife who was a practising Christian.”
As Peter’s involvement in the church grew he held posts from treasurer to church warden to chairing a parish mission committee before training to become a Reader – a position he has held for the past six years. Now he is excited to be embarking on his next challenge as a deacon.
“I envisage my ministry as being one of a servant – I am God’s servant and I am a servant of the people,” said Peter.
Jude Peters, 56, also began her journey into ministry as a Reader – a post she has held for the past nine years.
Married to Mike and with three children, Jude spent her early years in the Midlands, where she attended Sunday School and as a teenager went to church with her late mother.
She moved to South Wales with her family 13 years ago and immediately felt at home in Llantwit Major. And it was while sitting in the pew in her local church that Jude heard an appeal from the Rector for people to come forward to train as Readers.
“I literally hadn’t thought of becoming a Reader until that point but when I look back over my history I can see signposts towards ministry,” said Jude, who within a few years of becoming a Reader began to think about training for ordination.
“I explored the idea of ordination through prayer, reading and studying and then decided that yes this was what I was supposed to be doing,” said Jude who is looking forward to getting back to Llantwit and pastoral work in particular.
“I particularly enjoy being with older people and listening to their stories – we are all so busy these days, that many older people are in danger of being isolated.”
During the same service four deacons – including a woman whose life was saved by a world-famous surgeon as a child – were ordained as priests.
The Revd Suzanne Brumwell, the Revd Steven Brett, the Revd Dr Jordan Hillebert and the Revd Edward Le Brun Powell were ordained by Bishop John.
Mrs Brumwell continues as assistant curate in Cowbridge, Mr Brett as assistant curate in Llantrisant and Dr Hillebert as assistant curate NSM at Christ Church, Roath Park. As a non-stipendiary minister Dr Hillebert carries out his work for the church alongside his paid job. Mr Le Brun Powell will serve as assistant curate in the Cathedral parish of Llandaff.
As a child, Mrs Suzanne Brumwell, a mum-of-two, was known as ‘the little Welsh heart girl’ when prayers to save her life were answered when she travelled to South Africa at the age of five for life-saving surgery carried out by Professor Christiaan Barnard.
As a baby, she had not been expected to live past her first birthday and spent her first five years with a blue face and blue hands after being born with a congenital heart defect. Her grandmother read a newspaper story about Christiaan Barnard and wrote to him to tell him about Suzanne. After her grandmother’s prayers were answered, Mrs Brumwell is now living her dream of becoming a priest – a calling that began when she was a teenager.
Mr Steve Brett, 40, a lifelong churchgoer also decided as a child that he wanted to become a priest and is looking forward to continuing to serve in Llantrisant as it is an area he knows well as it neighbours his hometown parish of Llanharan.
Dr Jordan Hillebert, 32, who is married to Krisi, grew up in the States as a regular churchgoer. He tutors in theology and is the residential tutor at the St Padarn’s Institute.
Mr Edward Le Brun Powell, 26, a curate-in-training from Haverfordwest in the St David’s diocese, transfers into Llandaff, and will be based in the Cathedral parish of Llandaff.
Mr Le Brun Powell, originates from South Africa and moved to Cardiff when he was 16. After reading theology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David at Lampeter he embarked on his journey to ordination – serving a placement at Llandaff Cathedral during his training.
He recently became engaged and takes up his new post immediately following his ordination as priest.
“I’m so excited to be working in the Cathedral – it’s absolutely wonderful to be returning there,” said Mr Le Brun Powell.
Group picture shows (left to right)
Revd Charlotte Rushton, Revd Jude Peters, Revd Suzanne Brumwell, Revd Mark Broadway, Revd Dr Jordan Hillebert, Bishop John, Revd Peter Godsall, Revd Steve Brett, Revd Edward Le Brun Powell, Revd Rosemary Hill and Revd Dr Trystan Owain Hughes (Diocesan Director of Vocations)