A GROUP of priests who will work in churches across Wearside are to be ordained Church of England clergy this weekend.
The ordinands are working in parishes throughout the city and are a mixture of stipendiary, or paid, priests who are in training for their own ministry and those who will work in their parish as volunteers.
Peter Garvey, 27, is in training at the Parish of St Mary and St Peter, which covers the west of Sunderland.
“I have been moved by the people of the parish who have welcomed me into their lives,” he said. “When I’ve completed my training in three years, I could be sent anywhere, but the bishop likes to keep us in the diocese and I would like stay in Sunderland.
“At the moment, I am making the most of it.”
Teresa Laybourne, 50, is to be a non-stipendiary priest at Holy Trinity, Washington, and will combine her work for the church with her job as executive head teacher at Bexhill and Town End academies in Sunderland.
Lesley Jones, 45, will continue her work as a coordinator at Venerable Bede school in Ryhope when she becomes a member of the church’s North Wearside Team.
Tom Brazier, 39, and Edwin Ndaliso, 50, have both come to Wearside from South Africa.
Tom will be a priest at Holy Trinity, Washington, and Edwin at St Nicholas Parish, covering Barnes and Hendon in Sunderland.
Benjamin Eadon, 37, is in training at the Parish of St Chad, on the western outskirts of Sunderland, and Dan Christian, 27, is at St Mary and St Cuthbert in Chester-le-Street.
The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby, said: “There are people here from a wide variety of backgrounds.
“At a time when some people are being downbeat about the church, to get this bunch coming through is encouraging and exciting.”