the retirement of the Venerable Christopher Sims last September,
we have been awaiting the appointment of a new Archdeacon for
the Walsall Area (into which the Trysull Deanery and Parish of
Pattingham with Patshull fall).
I am delighted to be able to
tell you that on Sunday 11th January 2015, the Revd. Dr. Susan
Weller was "Collated, Inducted and welcomed" into
her new post as our Archdeacon and as an Honorary Canon of Lichfield
Cathedral. Sue has an interesting background that I thought you
might also like to know - so I am sharing some of the brief autobiography
that she wrote...
was born and grew up in East Yorkshire. I studied Botany and
Zoology at Leeds University, followed by a PhD in metal pollution
from anti-fouling paint. The PhD was joint with Liverpool University
and the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth. I then went
to work in Plymouth, developing ways to monitor metal pollution
... About half-way through that contract I realised I would have
to spend more time in the laboratory - or devote more time to
leading the small groups with which I was involved at church.
Three people, on two consecutive days, told m they thought I
was ready for ordination. I waited on God a further 6 months
before pursuing this idea further!
said that I will finish what I commit to. So I completed the
contract in Plymouth, and became the pastoral assistant at the
College of St Mary and St John for a few months before beginning
training. That's where I preached my first sermon....
I was selected
before the vote for women to be priested and was the only three-year
female student at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford in my year. For our long
summer placement all the single students came to Staffordshire.
As a result, I was offered a curacy on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent
(Caverswall, Weston Coyney and Dilhorne)
I met on silent ordination retreat, we married and I moved to
Wolverhampton whilst still completing the curacy. After our daughter,
Rachel, was born, we moved to Tamworth and I became Assistant
Minister at Holy Trinity, Wilnecote. Prayer became the bedrock
of my ministry, from praise and thanksgiving, to praying for
protection and discernment.
move as a family was to Christ Church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!
born in Zimbabwe, so we had always anticipated serving overseas
at some point - we expected Africa, but God called us to Rio.
We were there for six years. It is a church directly responsible
to the Archbishop of Canterbury, bringing people together from
every denomination, showing that we can work and worship together.
It was not
the easiest place to live, with real extremes of wealth and poverty,
yet we saw real depth of faith in some of the most difficult
of situations. The importance of taking every opportunity with
clear and relevant biblical teaching stood out, never knowing
when another family would be sent to their next posting, somewhere
else in the world.
I came back
to interim ministry, first at St Augustine and St Chad, Wednesfield,
and the last six months I've served at All Saints Darlaston and
All Saints Moxley.
I hope to
bring experience from working in a variety of different contexts,
and the commitment to bring together views from the parishes
and the diocese. From my scientific background, I'm someone who
thinks things through, looks at the detail and brings different
strands together to find solutions. I hope people will find me
approachable, a good listener, someone who seeks to see all sides
and gives an informed Godly response."
Sue is the first woman to be
appointed to this level of responsibility in our Diocese. We
welcome her wholeheartedly, and I certainly look forward to working
with her - both as Vicar here in Pattingham and as Rural Dean
of Trysull. (Sue will be known formally from now on as the Venerable
Dr Susan Weller)