SEVENTEEN new curates (assistants to vicars) have been ordained this year in Somerset.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the curates were ordained in four separate services in the Lady Chapel of Wells Cathedral.

The seventeen new roles are based across the region, with many in Taunton, Wellington and Mendip.

The Reverend Louise Bale, a new curate from Taunton, said: “Ordination time was delayed because of the pandemic, so I was really grateful that it could go ahead after all the years of discernment, studying and formation.

“Having separate small services was very different to the expected scene of the Cathedral being full-to-bursting with 17 of us and all our families, friends, and supporters all celebrating together.

“The small service was very special; it felt like a concentrated or distilled essence of the ordinations I have witnessed previously.

Ms Bale serves two parishes in Taunton – St Mary Magdalene and St John the Evangelist.

She also works three days a week as the Chaplain at Musgrove Park Hospital, and she started her role just as the country went into lockdown.

“Thankfully, our team of chaplains were able to continue working in the hospital, which meant we could support and be alongside patients when their relatives were not permitted to come in,” said Ms Bale.

“Even now, only one named person may visit a patient for just one hour a day. Chaplains are there for everybody and anybody – patients, relatives, staff - whether or not they have a faith or religious belief.

“We provide pastoral care and spiritual care, and where a person does have a faith, we help them to observe their religious practices.”

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

The Reverend Michele Kitto

Another curate recently ordained was The Reverend Michele Kitto, who serves in in the Benefice of Glastonbury St John and St Benedict with Meare and is also Chaplain of Millfield Preparatory School.

“Covid means that as a chaplain and a Rev we are being called to support those who are anxious and mental health awareness is a very important part of the role for ourselves but also so that we can support and listen to others of faith or none,” said Ms Kitto.

“It is a huge privilege to work at Millfield and to have had their support through my discernment and training and now as I have become ‘Rev’.

“Young people have so much to teach society and community and I learn as much from them as I teach them.

“My role at school doesn’t change but I have a new edition to the chaplaincy team here. Sir Nigel is our chaplaincy wellbeing dog and he helps me alongside staff and pupils with support.

“During this covid time where touch is missing Sir Nigel can support, comfort or just listen without judgment to pupils and staff. He brings joy and happiness to the faces of many and lifts all of our spirits.”

New reverends in Somerset

• Chris Absolon to serve in the Benefice of Combe Down, Monkton Combe & South Stoke

• Philip Albrow to serve in the Isle Valley Benefice

• Andrew Avramenko to serve in the Benefice of Charlcombe with Bath St Stephen

• Louise Bale to serve in the Benefice of Taunton St Mary Magdalene & St John the Evangelist and the Benefice of Taunton St Andrew and also as Chaplain of Musgrove Park Hospital and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

• Jan Church to serve in the Benefice of Cannington, Otterhampton with Combwich and Stockland

• Julian Davies to serve in Benefice of Timsbury with Priston, Camerton and Dunkerton

• Sam Healey to serve in The Isle of Wedmore Benefice

• Philip Hopper to serve in the Benefice of Pilton with Croscombe, North Wootton and Dinder

• Sue Hoskins to serve in the Benefice of Wrington with Redhill, Butcombe and Burrington

• Richard Kelley to serve in the Wellington and District Team Ministry

• Emma Kendall to serve in the Benefice of Milverton with Halse, Fitzhead and Ash Priors

• Suzanne Kirkham to serve in the Benefice of Christ Church, Clevedon

• Michele Kitto to serve in the Benefice of Glastonbury St John and St Benedict with Meare and also Chaplain of Millfield Preparatory School

• Thea Oliver to serve in the Benefice of Cheddar, Draycott and Rodney Stoke

• Shaula Reilly to serve in the Benefice of Saltford with Corston and Newton St Loe

• Jo Robinson to serve in Hardington Vale Benefice

• Dave Wilkie to serve in St James, Taunton