Former pub landlord among 17 new clergy for West London’s churches

Image above: Ordination of Deacons 2023

A total of 17 clergy have joined churches across Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond, and Spelthorne following their ordination to the office of Deacon this week.

The new Deacons will be working in churches across the Diocese of London’s Kensington Area, which covers these boroughs, serving their local communities and undertaking public worship, teaching and pastoral work.

The office of Deacon is often a step on the path towards priesthood and follows two to three years of training. After a period of around a year, a Deacon is often ordained to the priesthood. This is the fifth successive year that the Diocese has welcomed more than 40 new Deacons to London’s churches, with a total of 54 being ordained. The new Deacons will serve across 47 churches in the capital.

Among the ordinands is former pub landlord, Eva Webb Sheen. Eva was landlord at Aragon House in Parsons Green until 2018, and through the Covid-19 pandemic ‘reassessed her priorities’ and set out on the pathway to ordination.

Images above: Eva Webb Sheen, Vera Ezumah

‘Bar skills will help me in the pulpit’, says Eva

Eva Webb Sheen said:

“Having been a pub landlord for five years, it’s safe to say there’s not much that can shock me. The skills I learnt from behind the bar are just as useful in the pulpit.

“I hope my ordination can show people like me that anyone, no matter your background, can answer God’s call. As a working-class woman born and bred in Fulham, I never believed that I could be ordained – but I can testify that God has a plan for everyone.

“I am looking forward to planting our new church, engaging and connecting with the parish community, extending my role in our parish schools, being able to baptise, and to walking alongside people through some of the most important moments in their lives.”

The Bishop of Kensington, the Rt Revd Dr Emma Ineson, said:

“It is an honour and a privilege to welcome 17 to our clergy family. The Kensington Area covers a large swathe of London and beyond from Harrods to Heathrow, and serves a hugely diverse array of people and communities – it is heartening to see this diversity and difference reflected amongst this year’s ordinands.

“This is my first series of ordinations as Bishop of Kensington, and I very much look forward to working with them as they serve their parishes and local communities. I cannot wait to see what God has planned for them as their ministry develops over the coming months and years.”

Also being ordained is Vera Ezumah, who was born in Nigeria and brought up in France. She will be serving at Holy Trinity Hounslow.

Vera Ezumah said:

“I’m looking forward to being immersed in my new role and getting to know the people of the parish; their needs, their joys and their struggles.

“The parish has put a strong emphasis on outreach, and a lot has been done to build bridges within the community; between neighbouring parishes, and between people and our parish. I’m overjoyed to come to such a place, and to try to honour this inheritance and play my part in that bridge building vision!”