Withernsea’s Deacon Diane Berry is to be ordained as a priest and licensed to a new role during a ceremony in Roos on Sunday.
Diane, who will be ordained by the Bishop of Hull, Eleanor Sanderson, at All Saints’ Church at 10.30am on January 7, serves in the benefice of South Holderness Coast. With Alan she has two daughters and five grandchildren.
Diane became a reader in November 2017 and was ordained deacon in 2019, 10 years after her first sense of a call to ordination.
Bishop Eleanor said: “Diane has been a witness to the joy of the Gospel, particularly in her intergenerational ministry. I am so thankful to God for calling Diane and I am so thankful to Diane for her ongoing faith, courage and love for Jesus and the communities that she will serve in Christ’s name.”
Diane said: “I was asked in February by the diocese if I felt called to be ordained priest. I immediately said no. I had felt called to be deacon while working in church as a children and youth worker in 2006, but was told that I could not be ordained deacon unless I wanted to be a priest because it was part of the journey towards priesthood.
“So I put the thoughts aside and carried on doing my youth work, and later trained as a reader in the Church of England.
“Then in 2018 Archbishop Sentamu asked if I felt called to be a deacon! I jumped at the opportunity and was ordained Distinctive Deacon on January 13, 2019… 10 years after I had initially felt called and inquired. Distinctive Deacon is the term used for a deacon who wants to stay deacon and not move on to priesthood.”
Despite this, Diane was often asked about being a priest, and whether she could marry a couple, which increasingly gnawed away at her, so she phoned the diocese saying that she thought she needed to explore the call to priesthood.
After two days of lengthy interviews by the Bishop’s Advisory Panel, she was told they had been extremely impressed, recommended her for priestly ministry, and the date was set.
Diane added: “A local job was advertised that the archdeacon agreed that I could apply for before I was ordained. I was interviewed in November and got the job.
“Because of this, it has been arranged for me to be ordained and licensed to my new role, assistant minister to the South Holderness villages, in the same service. This is something that has never happened before, and a special service to include both special events is being produced for Sunday.
“I am thrilled and excited to be ordained and licensed on Sunday and look forward to serving all the villages in my new role.”