THOUSANDS of people gathered at Durham Cathedral this weekend to see new priests get ordained.
The two-day ordination event saw nearly 2,000 people gather at the historic landmark.
The ordainees came from former careers including forensic investigator, social media consultant, and luxury car engineer and two who overcame serious illness on their way to ordination.
Eight priests were ordained on Saturday and 11 deacons on Sunday.
Among those were three priests from Wearside: Rev Paul Child, Rev Glen Macknight and Rev Fiona Collin, and three deacons: Rev Rebecca Tobin, Rev Kevin Kitson and Rev Bryony Taylor.
Rev Bryony Taylor, 36, soon-to-be curate of Houghton, said: “Right from being about 10 years old I used to imagine myself leading a church, this was before women’s ordination in the Church of England, only looking back do I realise now that this was a bit odd.
“My last job was working as a social media consultant, helping people to use Facebook and Twitter for business.
“I realised that I could evangelise really well for the use of social media and felt a ‘nudge’ from God that if I can be that enthusiastic about social media, how much more could I be used by Him in the church?
“I feel most myself when I am leading worship or just helping someone get that bit closer to Jesus and now I’m completely thrilled to have realised this call in ordination.”
Rev Paul Child, 35, from Norfolk, switched from banking to become a curate with Monkwearmouth Team Ministry.
Former nurse and mother-of-two, Rev Fiona Collin, 51, is serving as a curate at Sunderland Minster, after spending 30 years working in healthcare.
Father-of-two Rev Glen Macknight, 51, gave up a 20-year career as a social worker with Sunderland City Council to become curate for Herrington, Penshaw and Shiney Row, Sunderland.
Rev Rebecca Tobin will follow in her father’s footsteps, after growing up in a vicarage, to become curate of the Boldons.
The ex-Sunderland Church High School pupil has a degree in English with Spanish and has worked mainly as a teacher, apart from a two year break to raise her son, who was born in August 1992.
After working as a tax officer and with the police force, Rev Kevin Kitson, 49, will be curate of Durham North Team Ministry, backed by wife Juliet and their son.
Richard Collins, Diocesan Director of Ordinands, said: “This has been a fantastic two days following on from three days of reflective retreat.
“This is just the start of their ordained ministry; for the deacons this is the first year, where they serve the church family ahead of being ordained this time next year as priest.
“For the newly ordained priests, this signifies the start of their ordained ministry as leaders of ministry.”
Bishop of Durham, The Right Revd Paul Butler, carried out his first ordinations since taking up office in February.