Diocesan press releases

Diocese of Bangor celebrates the journey of 10 special people at its annual ordination service

This Saturday (24.6) is a special day in the Church Calendar, because it is the day on which the Church celebrates the birth of John the Baptist, the biblical figure who prepared the way for Jesus and pointed people towards him.

It will also be a special day for the diocese of Bangor. At 3pm the Cathedral Church of St. Deiniol, Bangor, 10 people will commit themselves to follow in the footsteps of John the Baptist and point others towards Jesus at the annual ordination service, which will be lead by the Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andrew John.

It will also be the first time where a Reader (a lay person who is trained to lead worship and preach at services) will be licensed alongside those who are being ordained as Deacons and Priests. Whilst the roles and responsibilities of Reader, Deacon and Priest are distinct, much of the training for them is now carried out together.

The Rev’d Susan Blagden, Tutor for Bangor Diocese within the Church in Wales St. Padarn’s Institute, said, “St. Padarn’s is delighted to recommend these candidates for ordination and licensing.

They have engaged positively with the process of formation for public ministry and completed the necessary Church in Wales training requirements. It will be a great occasion of celebration, as the Diocese of Bangor witnesses, for the first time, the ordination of clergy and licensing of lay ministers within the same service.

We rejoice with the candidates and assure them of our prayers.”

Last year’s service

Looking forward to the service, the Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andrew John, said, “It is the great privilege of a bishop to license or ordain people to particular roles within our Church.

Each individual has their own story of following the path of God’s call to service. Their licensing or ordination will be a culmination of their vocation pilgrimage thus far, as well as being the start of a new part of their Christian life and ministry.

Theirs is also a new and valuable story in the life of our Church and her Christian witness and ministry. Please do pray for these ten special people, their families and me at this very special service.’

The ten people who will be licensed as a Reader or ordained as Deacon or Priest are (click on their name to read some thoughts from each of them) :


  • Sandra Wheeler   Bro Cyfeiliog & Mawddwy (Machynlleth, Mallwyd and surrounding Area)


  • Jen Evans    Permanent Deacon, Non-Stipendiary Curate  :  Bro Cyfeiliog and Mawddwy (Machynlleth, Mallwyd and surrounding Area)
  • Llewellyn Moules-Jones   Curate Bro Deiniol,  (Bangor)
  • Lesley Rendle   Non Stipendiary Curate  :  Bro Tysilio  (Menai Bridge, Pentraeth, Benllech and surrounding communities)
  • Sara Roberts    Curate  :  Bro Enlli (Pwllheli, Llanbedrog and Aberdaron and surrounding communities)
  • Allan Wilcox    Non Stipendiary Curate  :  Bro Eryri (Llanberis, Penisarwaun, Deiniolen and surrounding communities)


  • Alison Gwalchmai  Curate  :  Bro Arwystli  (Llangurig, Llanidloes, Trefeglwys, Carno and surrounding communites)
  • Caroline John  Curate  :  Bro Deiniol (Bangor)
  • Jon Price  Curate and Pioneer Minister  :  Bro Arwystli  (Llangurig, Llanidloes, Trefeglwys, Carno and surrounding communities)
  • Martin Pritchard  Curate  :  Bro Celynnin  (Conwy, Caerhun and surrounding communities)



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Sandra Wheeler   to be licensed as a Reader and will serve in the Bro Cyfeiliog & Mawddwy Ministry Area (Machynlleth and Mallwyd and surrounding communites)

I was confirmed into the Anglican Church by the Bishop of Aston at the age of 21 and have been active within the church ever since: Guide captain, Sunday school teacher,  parish choir, mission activities and supporting my husband, John who was a licensed Reader.

My vocation after being a ‘stay at home’ mother for 13 years was one of service and care, as nurse, midwife and finally a health visitor, being alongside people in all types of situations and ages; birth, death, tragedy and happiness, from the cradle to the grave.

Throughout all this time my faith in Christ led my life. For 6 years, after taking early retirement I was unwell and required several operations before I could walk again unaided and my health improved.  We had come to live in Mid Wales and it was at St. Idloes’ Church, Llanidloes where I had a calling to be a Reader, and was supported by the Rev’d Lynda Cowan.

I believe that it is imperative to be aware of the culture and background to the writings of the Bible to more fully understand the Trinity working in and through His people. Our Risen Lord knew the Hebrew Bible so well and often referred to it when teaching.

My placements in Bro Cyfeiliog & Mawddwy have increased my understanding of the developing role of Reader within the Church in Wales. The Rev’d Canon Kath Rogers has challenged and guided me. The challenge of weekly Café Church throughout Lent led to a request by those attending to continue. I believe the Holy Spirit is leading people to come together to build their understanding and their relationship with the God of love and mercy and the gift of grace.

The congregations, in my placement area, have opened their hearts to me and I look forward to ministering to them and to the challenge of spreading the Gospel of Christ and the love of God to those who live and work within the community of Bro Cyfeiliog and Mawddwy.

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Jen Evans   to be ordained as a deacon and will serve the Bro Cyfeiliog & Mawddwy Ministry Area (Machynlleth, Mallwyd and surrounding Area)

Born and bred in Morfa Nefyn, in a Welsh-speaking home, the Church was an integral part of her upbringing. At 12 years of age, Jen started to play the organ at St. Mary’s Church, Morfa Nefyn and St. David’s Church in Nefyn and continues to be an organist. Music still forms a vital part of her spiritual life.

A teacher by profession, she taught at Pwllheli and Cardigan before she and her husband, Hywel, moved to live in Llanbrynmair at the end of the ‘70s. After a period of raising their two sons, Siôn and Rhun, she rekindled her career as a teacher, this time at Ysgol Llanbrynmair, where she later became Headteacher, before moving to an early years’ advisory post with Powys Education Authority until her retirement in 2011.

Her interests include music, gardening and socialising, but above all what is most important to her is her family and she and Hywel are very fortunate that their sons and their partners still live in Bro Ddyfi. Being a nain to Gethin Prys who is 5 years old also gives her much joy and pleasure.

She is a member of the Bro Cyfeiliog and Mawddwy Ministry Team and is the Leader of the Pastoral Team. During the last few years she has had the honour of being chosen as Lay Co-chairperson on the Diocese Council.

Following a period caring for her mother who endured dementia in her latter years, until her death in 2004, Jen felt the strong desire to undertake pastoral work and to serve God in a deeper way. After her retirement, she knew that this was the appropriate time to give this serious consideration.

Over the past few years, whilst enjoying being a Worship Leader and serving Communion at home, she felt being called to something higher, although not entirely sure as to what that might be. She was encouraged to offer herself to the Permanent Diaconate, something that was completely alien to her. However, after much discussion and through reading and learning much about the role of a permanent deacon, she was sure that this was the ministry to which God was calling her.

Looking forward to her ordination, it will be an exciting time as well as fulfilling a desire as she continues to minister in her area and serve the people of Bro Cyfeiliog and Mawddwy. But from now on in a different way as an ordained deacon, with the affirmation of the Bishop, the Diocese and the Area Ministry.

On the one hand, she feels nervous about the ordination service since it will be a very emotional time for her and her family, but on the other hand, it will be a time to rejoice.

She says, “God has called me to this specific ministry and I can be sure of His love and strength to uphold me in this new period of my life.”

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Llewelyn Moules-Jones   to be ordained as a deacon and will serve in the Bro Deiniol Ministry Area (Bangor)

“A native of Anglesey, and from a long pedigree of farmers on the island, I was educated at the Universities of Bangor, Trinity St.David’s and Cardiff.

Following a long period in higher education teaching Agriculture and Welsh, I decided, four years ago, that I could no longer resist the calling to serve ‘my Lord and God’.

I consider it to be the greatest privilege to have been accepted to train for the Priesthood, and I look forward eagerly to join with the Ministry Team in the Bro Deiniol Ministry Area.”

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Lesley Rendle   to be ordained deacon and to serve in the Bro Tysilio Ministry Area (Menai Bridge, Pentraeth, Benllech and surrounding communities)

I come originally from the Wirral and worked there as a social worker in child care before moving to Droitwich in Worcestershire. After working as a lecturer in child care studies  for a short time I was appointed Diocesan Children’s Advisor. A job I held for 10 years. This was an enabling role, working with parishes and schools to develop their work with children. It also involved working with national and local agencies to ensure that the voice of the church was heard at strategic level in issues relating to young people. I returned to the Wirral in 2008 and worked for 3 extremely rewarding years as a school chaplain before moving to Anglesey.

I’m greatly enjoying life on Anglesey and currently have 6 dogs, 9 pygmy goats, 4 alpacas  3 pigs and a couple of hens. I would love to say “I grow all my own vegetables”  but although I manage a few tomatoes, the polytunnel in the garden is more in hope than reality. I do however enjoy baking and sewing, (in particular patchwork and quilting) and recently knitted a jumper from our own alpaca fibre.

I was licensed as a reader in 2001, a ministry which I have found to be an immense privilege and joy. I first sensed a call to ordained ministry some 5 years later. Every time the issue was raised it seemed that we moved house, but having arrived on Anglesey it seems that the time is right to respond to the  call.

I am excited by the prospect of ordination and  the challenge of developing my ministry in new and different directions. As a non-stipendiary priest much of my ministry will be outside of the church, in the wider community and  I am looking forward to seeing where God leads me in this new role and ministry. Within the church I am particularly excited by the decision of the Church in Wales to admit baptised children to communion and see this as a real challenge to churches to seek ways to involve children more fully in the life of the church both inside and outside of the Eucharist.

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Sara Roberts   to be ordained deacon and to serve in the Bro Enlli Ministry Area (Pwllheli, Llanbedrog and Aberdaron and surrounding communites)

Sara was raised in Penrhyndeudraeth and discovered her faith in Holy Trinity Church there when a young adult. She trained as a Licensed Lay Reader and was Licensed in 2001. She served in Bro Moelwyn for nearly 15 years before the call to ordained ministry came along. She is now training in Bro Enlli and is enjoying this special area in Bangor Diocese.She’s very grateful for this chance to serve all God’s people.

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Allan Wilcox   to be ordained deacon and to serve in the Bro Eryri Ministry Area (Llanberis, Penisarwaun, Deiniolen and surrounding communities)

He was born in London, studied English at Birmingham University (where he met his wife, Helen) and taught in Birmingham, Kent, St Helens, Liverpool (where their two sone were born) and Groningen, the Netherlands, for almost thirty-five years before retiring in 2006 and coming to live in North Wales. A long-suspected calling to ordained ministry led him to enrol on the Bangor University MA in Religious Studies almost immediately upon arrival here.

His road to Ordination has been a long one, and there have been hiccups on the way; so the inevitable trepidation that comes with taking on such a profound responsibility is tempered with a sense of equally profound relief and growing excitement.

After Ordination as Deacon, Allan will be a non-stipendiary Curate in the Ministry Area of Bro Eryri, where he lives and has served as a Reader for nearly eight years.

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Alison Gwalchmai   to be ordained priest and to serve in the Bro Arwystli Ministry Area (Llanidloes, Trefeglwys, Carno and surrounding communities)

During my year as a Deacon I moved from being NSM to full time stipendary ministry, which was quite unexpected, but I am relishing the challenge.

I have enjoyed working alongside my colleagues in the ministry area of Bro Arwystli, both lay and ordained, it has been a privilege.

I am looking forward to forging more new relationships with the people that we serve in the ministry area.

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Caroline John   to be ordained priest and to serve in the Bro Deiniol Ministry Area (Bangor)

“I was born in Middlesex in 1964 and lived in Surrey until I was nine, before moving to Cheshire. I read Theology at Emmanuel College Cambridge and was accepted as a Church of England ordinand in my final year at university. In 1988 I began training at St John’s College Nottingham, where I met my husband, Andy. In 1990 I was ordained Deacon in St David’s Cathedral. I served a curacy in Cardigan and a very short curacy in Aberystwyth, before the birth of our first child in 1991.

During the 1990’s I did occasional work in the Church, including some chaplaincy with the children’s ward in Bronglais Hospital and when the time was right I moved into secular work, where I ran the Information, Advice and Advocacy Department with Age Concern Ceredigion.

I returned to ordained ministry last year when I joined the Bro Deiniol Ministry Area.

After being one of the longest serving Deacons on record I shall be ordained Priest 27 years after being Deaconed by the late Archbishop George Noakes. This has been a strange and wonderful journey. Back in 1997, when women were first ordained Priests in Wales, I was expecting our fourth child and life seemed to revolve around school runs, doctors’ visits and nappy changes! I said that I would be priested if ever there was a clear call but at that time I don’t think I ever believed it would happen.

So no one was more astonished than me when, almost 20 years later, that call came loud and clear. One of the many amazing things about God is that He equips us for the task he calls us to, not just with the strength He gives us but in the desire to do it.

Returning to ordained ministry has been a huge joy for me. Working with the team and ministering to the people of the Bro Deiniol Ministry Area has been a privilege and delight. It has been immensely humbling to walk with people in their journeys and my faith has been strengthened and inspired by the lives I have come alongside.

As I now answer God’s call to Priesthood, I am mindful of the great privilege of enabling people in the Eucharist to meet with God as forgiven sinners loved by Him, to find healing for the past, wholeness for the present and to go forward to the future in a redeemed life.

It is with a sense of awe, humility, wonder and excitement that I look forward to being led by God, certain in the knowledge that the Lord, who has led me so patiently and faithfully to this point, will continue to work wonders.”

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Jon Price   to be ordained pioneer priest and to serve in the Bro Arwystli Ministry Area (Llangurig, Llanidloes, Trefeglwys, Carno and surrounding communites)

“As an ordained pioneer minister I have spent much of my diaconal year working with an emerging mission community. We are exploring ways that take all that is good and enriching about Christian community to people, in ways that makes the love of God visible, and enables them to thrive.

I’m excited about how this ministry might develop in the coming years, and am looking forward to thinking creatively about how we can continue to participate in demonstrating God’s love. I’m excited about discerning where God is at work and seeking to join in with the intention of creating new places where spirituality can come alive in the context of safe and supportive community.

After being ordained a priest, I look forward to discerning a sacramental approach to this ministry, making present the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the beginning and centre of all that I do. Then there is the question of what the transformative power and beauty of sacramental worship might look like in the context of new faith communities which needs to be explored.

I am challenged by St Paul to be more like Jesus. As Paul tells us in his writings (Philippians 2.5), I hope that as I serve the people of Bro Arwystli and beyond, people might occasionally be able to say of me that ‘he tried to be someone who had an attitude the same as that of Christ Jesus’.

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Martin Pritchard   to be ordained priest and to serve in the Bro Celynnin Ministry Area (Conwy, Caerhun and surrounding communities)

The role of a Deacon is a precious one and it has been a privilege to develop in this role at Bangor Cathedral learning from the Dean and Ministry Area leader of Bro Deiniol Kathy. The call of the Deacon is to work at the forefront of ministry, engaging with people in the church people out in the community and those on the margins. Bro Deiniol has been a good place for this focus and my diaconal year has taken shape as I have been involved in a vast array of services across the ministry area, in many cases the deacon at the altar. Much focus has been on pastoral visiting too and some opportunity to teach has been in place. It has been a great start in ordained ministry, laying down foundations of prayer, divine searching and recognition of God’s love in the World.

I look forward immensely to being ordained as a Priest and feel that the genuine good feeling of knowing you are doing what you are called to and supposed to be doing, can only grow deeper and enhance the Joy of serving Christ and his people at this next stage of commitment and beyond.

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