Ruth Coombs, Head of Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales (EHRC) is to be ordained Deacon in Llandaff Cathedral on Saturday 29 June. Ruth, along with three priests and five other deacons, will be ordained by Bishop of Llandaff, June Osborne before beginning her curacy in Roath, Cardiff.
Ruth will begin her ministerial life as Deacon while continuing in her day job as Wales’ Head of EHRC.
“I love my job and feel very blessed that my ministry and my day job complement each other so well. I have always come from a social justice perspective, so couldn’t ask for a better fit,” says Ruth.
“For me, this brings a unique opportunity to serve both the community of Roath and those I meet in the course of my daily work, those with faith and those without.”
Ruth realised her calling, aged seven, while singing in her local church choir, and the feeling of being called never left her, “No matter what I got involved with, or took on, I still felt God calling me.
“I spent many years as a Reader leading Matins and Evening Prayer, as well as facilitating Lent groups and Sunday School. When I got the news that I had been accepted for training for ordained ministry I felt calm and at peace for the first time in a long time.”
Ordination is the official recognition of a person’s calling to ministry. As a priest or deacon, they are granted the authority to conduct services in the name of God and the Church.
Bishop June said, “Ordinations are a joyous time for the church as we come together to celebrate the new ministry of so many people from all walks of life.
“Those who are to be ordained as deacons and priests are ordinary people who have responded to God’s call to dedicate their life in an extraordinary way to the service of others. I find it simply inspiring to watch them take the next – and very important – step in their journey.
“God’s calling is not limited by age, gender, race, sexual orientation or social and economic backgrounds. We are a diverse church community and social justice is very much at the heart of our ministry in the Diocese of Llandaff. Our ordinands will play a vital role in sharing Jesus’ message of love throughout their community.”
This year, nine people will be ordained by Bishop June Osborne at Llandaff Cathedral, including:
- Angela Cooper, Rectorial Benefice of the East Vale
- Dave Glyn Jones, Glan Ely
- Nicholas William Gill, Rectorial Benefice of Whitchurch.
Joining Ruth will be:
- Lorna Marie Hanney, City Parish of St John the Baptist, Cardiff
- Stuart Ghezzi, Rectorial Benefice of Neath
- Alison Reeves, Penarth, All Saints
- Emma Street, Rectorial Benefice of Neath
- Geoffrey Charles Lunn, Newton Nottage, Porthcawl
Video interviews and further information of each ordinand is available on our Ordinations 2019 page.
Additional quotes from three of our ordinands.
Ali Reeves, Penarth, All Saints
“I was expecting more laughter and incredulity from family and friends when I told them about being called, but without exception they have been supportive, even those who claim to have no faith.” said Ali, originally from the New Forest area
Ali joined her local village church soon after moving to Wales. But she couldn’t escape the feeling of being called to be or do something more. “Whilst I was still working in the NHS, the hospital chaplain, who I had come to know quite well, said to me one morning that he had dreamed about me the previous night and had seen me wearing a clerical collar – I laughed so much at the time because I thought it was a completely ridiculous dream – after all, even if I thought it was something I might consider, why on earth would the church want someone like me?”
Conversation with the local priest – and a meeting with Bishop June Osborne – led Ali to embrace her calling.
“I’m very excited about the Ordination service; it’s the next step in a journey that continues to surprise me and which I have enjoyed immensely. Because God is continually surprising me, I have learned not to make too many plans for my own life but just to be patient, to wait and listen to what God has in store for me. “
Emma Street, Rectorial Benefice of Neath
“I’m looking forward to every single minute of my Curacy, I’ll be doing what God wants me to do, and it’s what I love to do more than anything else.”
Emma (49) worked as a social worker for 28 years before realising God was calling her to ministry. Emma is married to Anthony and has two children. She enjoys spending time with the family and has also dabbled in amateur dramatics and women’s rugby.
Taking part in a local Alpha course renewed Emma’s faith and she became heavily involved in her local church. But the growing sense that God was calling her to do more led to a conversation with her priest, who was not in the slightest bit surprised, “My priest said, “I was wondering how long it was going to take you to realise!””
How did people take the news of her calling? “Some family and friends weren’t at all surprised when I told them of my vocation. Others were totally gobsmacked!
“My parents, who have both sadly passed away during my training, were incredibly supportive, and I’m praying that God will let them look down on the Cathedral for a bird’s eye view of the ordination.”
Geoff Lunn (Newton Nottage, Porthcawl)
At 69, most clergy are retired or think of retiring. But for Geoff, age is no barrier to serving God.
Geoff, an IT professional, took early retirement in 1999 to look after his mother. Geoff returned to church for her funeral and found himself exploring his calling. “When I went back to church in 2004 I was 54 and had not been inside a church since I was 15, except for family stuff such as weddings, baptism and funerals. I had always thought deeply about life and God.”
Geoff began his vocation as a Lay Reader before feeling drawn to ordained ministry. Reflecting on recent years, Geoff says, “I truly believe God wanted me to begin as Reader before Priesting. I have always, somehow, defaulted to the position of pioneer in a small way, and here I am at 69 being made Deacon!
“I see ordination to Deacon as awesome, but Priest is … well no superlatives work really. This has been a steady and strange pilgrimage. Going back to church was the first step. Being surrounded by people who love God and each other was the second. Many steps followed, there are many to come and Deacon is just the next milestone.”