Meet our new priests

On Sunday 3rd July, eleven new priests are to be ordained at Coventry Cathedral by Bishop Christopher. The new priests have already served as deacons for a year. On their ordination as priests they will remain in their present parishes while their on-going training continues.

Jacquelynn Ayton

Jacque is a curate at St. Alban’s church in Stoke Heath, Coventry. This past year as deacon, Jacque has been finding her feet as a city-dweller after spending the previous 7 years in the countryside. Despite her background, Jacque has a heart for urban ministry and has enjoyed all the joys and challenges it has brought her. She also enjoys looking for the beauty of creation in what may be seen as an unlikely urban environment.

Due to easing Covid restrictions, it’s been a year of navigating a ‘New Normal’, and finding ways of building relationships within the constraints of social distancing. Jacque has especially thrived while walking alongside people in their grief through funerals and other pastoral situations, and also guiding people in their faith journey through baptism and confirmation courses. As a way of showing the hospitality of Christ, she has also opened her house for members of the congregation to come for a meal with her family.

Jacque has enjoyed working with colleagues across the East Coventry Deanery, and has led deanery wide services, including The Longest Night service and Mother’s Day Runaway service. Going forward, she hopes to get involved in interfaith projects, a passion of hers since previously living in a Muslim-majority country. Jacque will also continue to passionately preach on social justice issues when opportunities arise, especially tackling racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Jacque feels both humbled and overjoyed to be able to continue serving the people of St. Alban’s, Coventry once she is priested.

Matthew Bull

Matthew is a curate in the Bedworth Team. He will have been married to his beautiful wife Sandy for 22 years this September. Both thier boys celebrate big milestones this year, Ben will be 21 in the summer followed by Zach who will be 18. 

Matthew is very much looking forward to his priesting in July at Coventry Cathedral. His parents, four sisters, nephews, and niece along with friends from London shall join him for his big day in the cathedral. He is looking forward to celebrating this event with family, many friends, and colleagues.They will be joined with some friends from the Bedworth Parish Churches. 

It has been a hectic year since Matthew's deacon ordination, moving to a new home and getting used to full time parish life, but the support of the team and the members of the congregation have made it a great experience. Matthew thanks God for all that he has given and will give to all who love him. 

Sarah Cushing


Sarah is curate at All Saints, Emscote in Warwick. Covid brought its challenges at times, but it has been good grounding in experiencing how things can change and be different and how to journey with each other in these moments. Sarah has enjoyed being part of the new ventures of Messy Church and the new Message Bus. Sarah has found in particular, that one of her passions has been life events, which are really special to witness and minister to, and it is through this that Sarah realises one of her passions in ministry is the pastoral element, including getting out into the parish and coming alongside others in day to day life. Sarah also very much enjoys children's ministry, in particular, being involved with Little Saints pre-school worship and activities. The tradition of this church was new to Sarah but the experience of it has been transforming.

The past year spent at All Saints has been a privilege and quite special.

Matt Ford

Matt is curate at St Martins-in-the-Fields, Finham. He and his wife Grace have enjoyed becoming a part of the amazing community at St Martins. They have been blown away by the welcome and feel very much part of the family. Matt has particularly enjoyed getting to know and work with Matt Taylor the incumbent and the staff team at St Martins. Sharing similar interests, as well as first names, probably made it difficult to differentiate between the two Matt’s at first, but the nicknames that seem to be catching on now are ‘Matt the wiser’ and ‘Matt the younger’! 

Matt is excited about the missional opportunities that are bubbling up in the Finham area. After launching their coffee shop, ‘Revive’, some months ago, St Martins has had the privilege of engaging more and more with members of the local community. This along with the many other things that are going on and beginning makes it an exciting season to be in, and Matt is keen to see what God has in store for St Martins next. As well as this, Matt has really enjoyed growing in the areas of ministry that local parish churches have the privilege and responsibility to engage in. These experiences have been essential in Matt’s own formation and have given him a greater insight into what future ministry may look like. 

As Matt looks back on this first year, the constant support from Grace, friends and family, and church family have been incredible. Throughout this year God’s faithful love has carried Matt and Grace through it all. His time at St Martins has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, and Matt is excited about what God will do over the coming years as he approaches priesting.  

Hannah Gregory

Hannah is a curate in Shipston Benefice. She was deaconed two years ago, and due to maternity leave, she is due to be priested this year. Hannah has grown with the church as it moved from pandemic restrictions into a flourishing community and has enjoyed getting to know people without masks on.

She particularly enjoys being with the community through the foodbank, worshiping in care homes, walking alongside the bereaved, and doing school visits. Hannah is always ready to have a chat over a cuppa and cake! Hannah has started a new worshipping community in a residential Care home and is looking forward to starting a small group for new christians this summer.

Hannah expresses her Franciscan spirituality through making muddy church trails and caring for the environment. The churchyard is hoping to welcome a colony of bees this year and Hannah is looking forward to doing a Bee Blessing. Hannah is looking forward to celebrating the Eucharist with the churches in her benefice after her priesting as well as conducting several weddings in the coming year.

Eira Hale

Eira is curate at St Nicholas’ Church, Warwick. The last year has been full of new challenges and lots of learning as she has worked alongside the congregation to re-establish patterns of worship, discipleship, fellowship and mission in the aftermath of the pandemic. She has a particular focus on mission in the new housing areas within the parish and has enjoyed making new connections and building community with residents as they move in – culminating in a rain-soaked Jubilee Street party!

Eira is thankful for the generous welcome and consistent encouragement of the people of St Nic’s which have led to many highlights across the year.The re-launch of the Toddler Group has been an especial joy – seeing how the lived-out faith of the team of volunteers results in loving care that supports and nurtures children and their carers alike. Similarly, it has been a joy to welcome many new families into the church family through baptism.

There is a strong sense that the Holy Spirit is breathing new energy into the life of St Nic’s and Eira is looking forward to the missional opportunities God has planned in the coming year.

Anne-Marie Marsh

Anne-Marie is a curate at St. John the Baptist Hillmorton and St. Gabriel’s Houlton, Rugby, where she and her family have enjoyed settling into life in the area. Anne-Marie has had the wonderful opportunity to minister in two different contexts simultaneously, the local Parish church and the church plant based in St. Gabriel’s school, Houlton. Anne-Marie has felt blessed and privileged to have been able to fully engage in ministerial life in her contexts, including; leading and preaching at many different services through all the church seasons, home communion and care home visits, and work in schools. Anne-Marie has also felt privileged to conduct funerals and baptisms. Anne-Marie is passionate about community work which has led to the establishment of the Hillmorton Hub Community Drop-in last September. This has enabled Anne-Marie to connect and engage fruitfully in the community and this is something she wishes to continue to grow. Anne-Marie realises all these things are only possible through God’s strength and love and is thankful He has placed her there. Anne-Marie is grateful, especially to her training incumbent, colleagues, family and congregation for supporting and caring for her and is excited about the next few years to come!!

Su McClellan 


Su is the curate at Coventry Cathedral and leads the Church Engagement team at Embrace the Middle East. She has loved her diaconal year, learning about Cathedral life, embedding herself into it and finding the synergies between Embrace, the Cathedral and indeed the wider church, both here in the UK and in the Middle East.

She’s been taken out of her comfort zone in learning to lead Cathedral Choral Evensong, had amazing inter-faith encounters as she’s served as a Cathedral chaplain, and has navigated the extremes of grand occasions like Christmas and Easter with the times when she’s said Evening Prayer with one other person.

Ministering in a building which reflects and embodies both resurrection and reconciliation has been the privilege of her life. Her work at Embrace is being nurtured by the Cathedral’s ministry and is strengthening her commitment to raising awareness of the Middle Eastern church amongst UK Christians, reflecting that we are all part of the one household of God (Ephesians 2:19)

Su firmly believes that priestly ministry is ultimately about reconciliation and is therefore both excited and intimidated by where God might be leading. In a world that is so divided and fractured, the message of 2 Corinthians 5:19 is a powerful reminder that we are all called to this ministry. In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself…and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

Su is profoundly grateful to the team at Embrace the Middle East, her training incumbent Canon Kathryn Fleming, the Dean, the Canon for Reconciliation and the Arts, the vergers, the music department, the welcome team and the congregation for walking with her during this extraordinary year.

Jo Parker

Jo is curate at St. Giles, Exhall.  She has thoroughly enjoyed her deacon year, especially getting to know the wonderful folk of Ash Green and Exhall. Their generous welcome, friendship and support has made it a pure joy. The year has been characterised by return and renewal, as the Covid-19 restrictions have been slowly lifted and life has become more ‘normal’. As places have opened up, Jo has been privileged to be involved in restarting ministry to local care homes and schools. Jo has also become a governor of one of the local junior schools.

St. Giles church is blessed with many occasional offices and Jo has been surprised to discover a passion developing for funeral ministry.  

The Eucharist has always been central to Jo’s calling and she is very excited about presiding at Holy Communion for the first time a week after being ordained priest.  Aware that there is still much to learn, she eagerly awaits the next phase of this amazing journey.  Thanks be to God!

Andy Ruffhead


Andy is a curate at St Paul’s, Leamington Spa. It has been a joy over the last year together with his wife to settle into Leamington and to get involved in all manner of ministry during the transition away from lockdown and towards St Paul’s becoming a Diocesan Mission Hub. Andy has a particular ministry focus on young adults, ministering to university students, those in their 20s and 30s, and overseeing the Discipleship Year and Evening Service congregation. In particular it has been a privilege to journey alongside those exploring the Christian faith, seeing people come to believe in Jesus and be baptised! In coming to be ordained priest, Andy is very aware of the need to trust in God’s faithfulness and to seek to be continually filled afresh with the Holy Spirit.

Ros Williams

Ros is curate at St Mark’s, Swanswell. She moved to Coventry from London last summer and is so grateful for the warm welcome she has received from the church and diocese.

There have been many highlights of the year, which have included running Alpha at St Marks; listening to discussions and watching people find faith in Jesus Christ for the first time and baptising refugees at the One Family Church. Ros has worked with members of the congregation at St Marks who have prepared talks for the first time and has led leaders’ mornings for volunteers in the church family. She has started to develop links between St Marks and Eden Girls’ School and between St Marks and the City of Culture. Ros organised ‘Celebrate Swanswell’ outdoor fun days in both July 2021 and May 2022. She organised an outdoor carol service at Christmas with goats and sheep; these events have been attended by a diverse range of people from the community. 

Ros is looking forward to being ordained a priest and is excited to see what God will do in the years ahead. She feels a strong sense of call to reach out to people who have no connections with church and to develop leaders in the church. She looks forward to working as a discernment advisor in the diocese in the year ahead and to the many opportunities that lie ahead at St Marks.

First published on: 20th June 2022
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