Ordination and Curacy

Having been released by the Diocese of Oxford and following a meeting with +Roy Screech, the Bishop of St Germans (the acting Bishop of Truro), I was offered a curacy in the parishes of St Blazey, Tywardreath, Luxulyan, and Lanlivery alongside the Vicar, Fr Malcolm Bowers. And so, having finished three years at Cuddesdon, we moved to the curate’s house in St Blazey, in a fairly new development next to the church.

The first time I met my fellow curates-to-be was at HMS Raleigh, on the far south-eastern edge of Cornwall, where we gathered for our post-ordination retreat. The retreat conductor was Fr Michael Hart, who announced that he was both catholic and charismatic, music to my ears.

After a few days on retreat we went down to breakfast, all feeling somewhat uncomfortable in new clerical shirts, wondering how the collars attached properly. But, having managed not to get breakfast down our new shirts, we headed off to Truro Cathedral for our ordination – which I think it’s fair to say went in a bit of a blur, but it was special to have friends and family there with me.

Stuart’s Ordination as Deacon at Truro Cathedral

After the ordination we headed over to St Blazey Football Club a the “do” and the opportunity to meet some members of the congregations as well as the wider community.

The following day was Sunday, so I deaconed at the 9.30am Mass at St Blazey and the 11.00am Mass at Lanlivery. At some point during the first year there was some pastoral reorganisation, and so Lanlivery left us to join with Lostwithiel – so I was curate only of St Blazey, Tywardreath, and Luxulyan.

Stuart after deaconing Mass at St Blazey for the first time

Being football fans, Natalie and I started attending St Blazey Football Club, only a short walk from home, and getting to know the community.

During this year as a deacon we were privileged to travel back to South Africa for the third time, to attend the graduation of some students from the College of the Transfiguration, and I had the privilege of deaconing the Parish Mass for Fr Clive (a dear friend now sadly deceased) at St Philip’s Grahamstown – a township church I had attended on placement while in South Africa initially.

I continued getting to know the communities in my parishes, which ranged from very rural to a small deprived town, in the Cornish context of being apart from England. I learnt to conduct funerals, baptise babies, and assist at weddings.

A year later it was time to be ordained priest. At that point it was the practice in Truro to ordain priests in their parishes – so on Thursday night +Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro, came to Luxulyan Church to ordain me. Fr Mortiboys, my teacher at the beginning of my Christian journey, came down to preach. The following Saturday I celebrated my First Mass at St Blazey. Naturally it was a High Mass, with Fr Simon (a friend from college) deaconing, Fr Malcolm acting as sub-deacon, and Fr Chris Kinch (a fellow former member of the St Giles youth group) preached.

It was also around this time that we discovered Natalie was pregnant with Bridget – everything always happens at once!

We spent three happy years in Cornwall, where I was a duty chaplain at Truro Cathedral and served on Diocesan Synod and the World Church Committee, as well as serving as governor at a special needs school and informal involvement in a local residents’ association.

But, as is always the case, things have to come to an end.