Parish News...

Lichfield Diocese - and our Area - has a new Archdeacon...

Following 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...

"I 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 in rivers...
... 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!

I've always 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)

David and 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.

Our next move as a family was to Christ Church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

David was 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)