Ordination Day – The Last Post

What an amazing day in Chester on Sunday. Four years, after meeting the Director of Ordinands at Bishop’s House, a failed first panel and near rejection but given a second chance before going to the National Panel and Mirfield College of the Resurrection, here I was in the company of eleven fellow ordinands and our many family and friends, being ordained as a Deacon.  I would not have got to this point without the loving support and prayers of so many people who came to share this memorable day. None more so than my dear wife, pictured with me at the foot of this post, who is my rock, and my right hand woman. She was given a verse by the Holy Spirit in Chester Cathedral when we were together at Choral Evensong on 27th January 2011 before my second local panel. Philemon 6 – I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that WE may do for Christ.

7. Paul Deakin Ordination - Laying on of Hands _ t lawton

An amazing day, a beautiful service, but beyond the pomp and ceremony lies a serious life long commitment to minister to all God’s people and tell the story of God’s love, the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

This is my last post on WordPress. It is time to call it a day so that I can focus on my two to three year curacy in St. Michael’s, Bramhall, acquire the skills needed to run a parish, and to continue my studies.

Life begins at 50 !

with every blessing to all my readers,

The Reverend Paul Deakin.



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Destination Church

The post formational training break prior to my ordination on July 21st (most are taking place this ‘Ember’ weekend, today being the feast day of the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul) has given me the chance to explore different Anglican churches in the locality as well as two ordinations, a priesting in Liverpool and a deaconing in Lichfield Cathedrals.

Today I went to St. Thomas’ Church, Stockport for Sung Eucharist, now under the stewardship of the Rev’d. Andrew Lythall who is also responsible for St. Alban’s Offerton. St. Thomas’s is a stone’s throw from where I grew up and yet I had never stepped inside before. When I eventually found my way into the church, the sad, darkened exterior with graffiti in places gave way to the beauty of the interior of this Grade 1 listed building and which according to the listed building website is the grandest classical church in the Manchester region. Built in 1818, it cost £15000. What price now I wonder, 15 million perhaps?

I was surprised to see a strong choir of 15 with a further 20 in the congregation and the worship did not disappoint. The closest I have got to Mirfield since leaving. The liturgy/hymnody and sermon focussed on the apostles recognition of Christ. Afterwards, I shared tea and fellowship with the dedicated Christians there, very few of whom live in Stockport. They travel in to attend that particular church for its Anglo-Catholic traditions. And I was reminded whilst I was there, St. Michael’s, Bramhall, is a daughter church and the clergy there have supported St. Thomas’s during their interregnum, and the parish are truly grateful. The lack of local worshippers is a concern for many town centre parishes and what a mission field there is in central Stockport.

st thomas stockport

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Cub Camp

This morning my eldest son invited me to his Cub Camp at Worsley, to lead the worship and assist in striking the patrol tents. It was great to see the youngsters enjoying their ‘Pirates’ camp, and see a new stream of leadership coming on board. I am looking forward to getting to know the young people of the parish when I return. A fellow church member said to me, you must be so proud, and yes I am. For a young man to give selflessly his time to develop youngsters and help form them into good citizens is an amazing thing to do, and I must admit as he addressed the Cubs to give them their instructions I saw a lot of Dad in Son.

Here is my Cub Camp address given under the shelter of a huge oak tree with raindrops filtering through. Not knowing my audience, I chose inclusive child-friendly songs and spoke about treasure in heaven.

It is obviously a lot of fun when we enter into the spirit of a camp theme. The Cub Camp themes I have been involved with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Mr Big, The Romans, Robin Hood, and now the Pirates.

Piracy has inspired people to make movies and write books. Pirates of the Caribbean.

And there is a story written by Robert Louis Stevenson called ‘Treasure Island’. Has anyone read it?

Treasure Island inspired the idea of a tatty old map with an ‘X’ to mark the spot where the treasure was buried. I think Cubs has gone a bit more technical these days as you will be getting a nice, shiny, posh, laminated map to help you find the treasure today.

We are here having good, clean, harmless fun, but it is worth remembering that pirates were criminals. An act of robbery to steal belongings from someone else, and this was often at sea.  In fact piracy is any form of stealing. If you have been to the cinema recently you may have seen the trailer before the film starts asking you to report anyone who is seen capturing the film on their mobile phone. That too, is piracy.

But right now, we are here in this special place here to think about other treasures. We are here to think about God and the gifts or treasure that God has given in this world. And of course in our big beautiful world God is understood in lots of ways. My understanding of God, as a person about to become a priest in the Christian Church is through knowing and following a unique person called Jesus.

Jesus, as a man, lived about 2000 years ago. He taught lots of stories, some short and some long, which we call parables, to help us understand what God expects. He often spoke about sharing and caring for others, in fact he even said you could not love God, if you were not able to love other people. He taught stories about the foolishness of being selfish and wanting to hold onto lots of treasure.  And he even spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven being like treasure. Here is a one-sentence story that Jesus taught:

The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 6:21)

What did Jesus mean I wonder? I think he meant that to know God, who gives and breathes Spirit into all life, was the greatest treasure of all and that if we only think about ourselves in life then we cut ourselves off from God. If we are able to be loving and kind to others is one way, one way, of coming closer to God. Why? Because God is love, and those who live in love, live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16). And for Christians that love is revealed in Jesus.

It is important as you grow up, to take school seriously and to take Scouting seriously. If you work hard and give of your best you will always in the end succeed. But it is important to remember that we live in a worldwide community which is why we sang ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands’; and that we are not called to be like pirates who were ‘takers’ but we are actually called to like ‘givers’.

In giving and sharing we bring pleasure to others and this is in our Cub Scout Law isn’t it?

Who knows the Cub Scout Law?

Cub Scouts always do their best, think of others before themselves, and do a good turn every day. Notice the law says ‘always’; not some of the time, or when I feel like it, but always do their best.

And that Law is an enduring law. If everyone in the world, not just Cubs, Scouts, Brownies or Guides, could do their best, and think of others before themselves, and do a good turn every day just think how much better this beautiful world might be.

God has given us all freewill, responsibility for this planet which is our home and we are all called to make the world a better place.

Who have you helped this weekend, or who could you help today? And in helping someone, not only will you fulfill your promise but you will come closer to God.

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St. Mary’s in the Marketplace

A seven week sabbatical before ordination on July 21st is giving me the opportunity to visit other Anglican churches in the locality, glean ideas, see new people, get to know other clergy or re-establish friendships. After a quiet 8am eucharist at St. Michaels, (probably my last visit until July 28th), where the celebrant and preacher was Fr. David Stoter, celebrating 45 years of priesthood, I headed off for St. Mary’s, Stockport.

I have always had a particular liking for this church which is situated in the heart of the town centre next to the market place. My parents were married there in 1958, and I first worshipped there in June 2009 and got to know the Rector, The Revd. Roger Scoones. His never ending energy and zeal for mission, like St. Barnabas, has always encouraged me. His dark night mystery tours around this church for my Scouts were always inspiring and thought provoking.

Yesterday, the typical 20+ congregation was swelled to around 80 to celebrate the re-ordering of the church, including civic dignitaries, the Royal British Legion, and the Bishop of Chester.

The church did indeed look beautiful, although I am not sure I am a lover of nationalistic flags permanently on display. The pews have gone to be replaced by removable chairs which enable the nave of the church to become multi-purpose. There is also a brand new café in the North-Western corner of the nave. The sound system is still a bit of a problem as I struggled to engage with what the Bishop was saying but there was no problem with the sound of the church bells which rang out after the service yesterday. The repairs to the tower enabled the ten magnificent bells, seven cast in 1817, the last three in 1897 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign, to ring out after a seven year silence to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.


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A new era dawns

Term finished last Friday morning with a smoky Mattins for the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth, but it was the evening before that I sensed all was drawing to a close in Upper Church at the Second Evensong for Corpus Christi, before the leavers dinner took place. I am not one for being emotional, quite a strong character really. But the closing verse of the last hymn to be sung in Upper Church subconsciously drew a tear in my left eye which dripped onto the page of the hymn book as a little marker – faith is personal and comes from the heart and the experience of the Holy Spirit. Pictured below are the stoles being blessed at the Family Eucharist on Wednesday, although mine was blessed at the Corpus Christi Low Mass on Thursday, with thanks to Fr. Peter, so that my wife could be present.

Soul of my Saviour, sanctify my breast, Body of Christ, be thou my saving guest, Blood of my Saviour, bathe me in thy tide, Wash me with water flowing from thy side.

Strength and protection may thy passion be, O blessed Jesu’, hear and answer me; Deep in thy wounds, Lord, hide and shelter me, So shall I never part from thee.

Guard and defend me from the foe malign, in death’s dread moments make me only thine; Call me and bid me come to thee on high, where I may praise thee with thy saints for ay.

Latin 14th century – anonymous


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The Resurrection Vigil

The countdown begins as the short final week in college dawns, (Monday is a Bank Holiday). I came back early for the sung office of the Resurrection Vigil which replaces the Office of Compline on a Saturday evening. Beautiful  liturgy which opens with the 11th century Office Hymn ‘Angelic Choirs rejoice’.

Angelic choirs, rejoice! let trumpets lift their voice! To hail the Lord’s salvation, let priestly people sing the triumph of their King, in festive celebration.

Exult, O earth made bright, your darkness put to flight, now shine in Christ’s own splendour. Be glad O Church, in song, come join the echoing throng, to hail the glorious Victor.

Let all around this flame, Christ’s deathless light acclaim, his mercy now proclaiming; that all may live in him, who conquered death and sin in glory never ending. 

That all may live in him, the One who has shown humanity how it should live, in peace and forgiveness. Pray for the soul of drummer Lee Rigby tonight, his bereaved family, and for our Muslim sisters and brothers who are living in fear because of the actions of extremists.

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Student Homily in Mirfield Lower Church

Homily from Deuteronomy 19, Psalm 57, 1 Peter 2:18-25 on the feast of Athanasius. Every final year student has to preach a five minute homily to their peers and staff, at Mattins on a Thursday morning in Lower Church.



‘Show no pity; eye for eye, tooth for tooth’ (Deut: 19:21). One of the most misunderstood commands of the Torah. It was Mahatma Gandhi that said to the Indian resistance movement ‘if you follow this rule we will become a nation that is toothless and blind’.

Thinking about this verse caused me to reflect on my childhood. I am the eldest of three by five years difference, and in the swinging ‘60’s Mum stayed at home to bring the family up and Dad went to work; toddler groups did not exist.  The benefits of learning to share in the social skills of the sandpit and remembering the rules of the road in the Little Tikes car were years away. Thus, my social interaction was limited to one hour a week in Sunday School.

And then came my first day at infant school. At 3 o’ clock the bell rang and children ran through the playground to greet their parents. Five minutes later there remained two parents anxiously waiting at the gate, whilst their sons were detained for a reprimand from the teacher. And yes, I was one of them. From that day on, my mother impressed upon me that retaliation under any circumstances was just not on.

But she didn’t just tell me; she showed me her faith in action, especially when we moved into a corner shop, a grocery, on the fringe of a challenging housing estate, where in difficult circumstances, all her customers were special to her. And then, several years later, when her mother’s life was taken unexpectedly there was never any malice expressed towards the unknown perpetrator.

I took note of all these things; rather like Saint Athanasius whom we remember today; who was strongly influenced by his Christian upbringing. 

When we look at the Mosaic law of retaliation from the Torah, known as Lex Talionis, it was intended as a limitation; the beginning of mercy which develops right through the Hebrew Scriptures and is recognised by the Psalmist this morning. Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me (Ps. 57:1). The Mosaic Law then was not for private vengeance, but as a guide for how a law court should act.

Jesus of course advances this teaching through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel. He challenges us with a new spirit of non-resentment. ‘You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’ (Mt. 5:38); But I say to you ‘do not resist’ (Mt. 5:39). ‘Love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you’ (Mt. 5:44). And of course, the Risen Lord put into practice what he taught. Today’s Petrine epistle reminds us of Christ’s example of self-giving love without limit, a refusal to allow retaliation, and placing complete trust, in the Father (1 Ptr. 2: 21-23). His words of pleading for the forgiveness of sins of those stood around him on the cross, recorded by Luke, leave us breathless and in awe (Luke 23:34).

There is no higher vocation than being called to change lives and bring hope by sharing God’s love in serving Jesus Christ. The Risen Lord challenges us, but doesn’t ask us to do anything that he hasn’t faced himself. When we ultimately are ordained as priests, God willing, and take stewardship of a parish; it is a cast-iron certainty that we will not be loved by everyone. There will be unpleasant emails and comments to contend with, but we will still be their servant and their ‘good shepherd’.

Like the first apostles, we all bring different gifts and abilities to the table; but surely the most important thing is that you have been called for who you are as a person; the heart inside you; who you are becoming, and who you will become. A life of daily conversion and a closer walk with Christ will be the best witness of what we live and believe.

In Christian ministry there will be moments of immense joy and contrasting pain; a filled chalice in one hand; and a nail in the other. And when as priests we celebrate the Eucharist; the wearing of the chasuble, the symbol of the yoke of Christ, will act as a reminder of our duty to love one another, and that we cannot love our neighbour unconditionally in our own strength without the One who is gentle and humble in heart, who is faithful, alongside us, to help, to guide…….. and to inspire us.






Posted in Anglicanism, Christ, Christianity, Faith, Holy Spirit, Love, Mirfield College of the Resurrection, Monasteries, Ordination, preaching, Saints | 2 Comments