Five people will be recognised with special ‘stalls’ at Lichfield Cathedral to mark their service to churches across the Diocese of Lichfield.
The award of a Prebendary stall is an honour which recognises the contribution and service of the recipient to the life of the diocese. In times past, it was also associated with rights and income from a parcel of land after which the Prebend is named.
The five, who were nominated by the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, are:
The Revd Ron Farrell, Vicar of St Francis West Bromwich and Rural Dean of West Bromwich, who will be appointed to the Prebend of Offley. A Londoner by birth, who worked in Market Research in central London then read theology at Edinburgh before ministerial formation at Queen’s College, Fr Ron served in some ‘rough’ Birmingham and Manchester parishes, and has been Parish Priest of St Francis of Assisi, Friar Park in West Bromwich, for the last 15 years. When he arrived in Friar Park there was relatively small congregation in need of renewal and the necessity for a rebuilding of relationships with the local area. £1.5 million on, the parish church is a splendid building, and before lockdown a congregation touching 90-100 many weeks, and relatively young.
It’s a place that has provided a number of vocations in this period. Fr Ron has built up a significant funeral ministry which, counter-intuitively perhaps, has been the basis for much parish growth. Friar Park is an old-fashioned area, where folk expect to see their Parish Priest in the shops, the schools, care homes and hospital, and Fr Ron finds great joy in all this. Fr Ron is Rural Dean of West Bromwich, a deanery with the whole gamut of Anglican expression. “How I have become a prebendary is a mystery to me!” he said.
The Revd Pat Hawkins, Vicar of Ellesmere, who will be appointed to the Prebendary of Ufton Decani. Pat has served all of her ordained ministry in Lichfield Diocese and understands that she is one of the few to have worked in all three Episcopal areas, as curate in Stafford, parish priest and rural dean in Wolverhampton and now vicar of St Mary's Ellesmere, right up on the Welsh border. From 2014 until the beginning of this year she was a Residentiary Canon at the cathedral. Earlier this year, she was appointed as a Chaplain to HM the Queen. Pat says: "The return to parish ministry has proved a good and happy one (despite Covid!) but I am delighted that I shall be able to maintain a link with the life of the cathedral.”
The Revd Dr David Primrose, the diocese’s Transforming Church and Community Enabler, who will be appointed to the Prebendary of Eccleshall. David said: “Having been in parish ministry in the Gloucester Diocese, I came to Lichfield ten years ago to serve as social responsibility officer. It’s been a privilege to work with colleagues across the diocese, engaging in the transformation of both church and community. It’s good to be part of Eco-Diocese and other environmental initiatives, as well as the range of activities undertaken by Transforming Communities Together.
"Becoming a prebendary affirms the ministry offered by the teams with whom I serve. Having spent time in over half the church buildings in the diocese, and preached/led worship in at least a third, it’s good to connect that parochial experience with the cathedral where we pray for a church that partners with others seeking the common good working for justice as people of hope.”
The Revd Adrian Stone, Vicar of Trentham, who will be appointed to the Prebendary of Tarvin. Adrian Stone came into the diocese to be ordained Deacon in 2003. After serving his curacy in Bayston Hill, Shropshire, he became Rector of St John’s Stafford and Tixall with Ingestre where he served 11 fruitful years. With three grown up kids and married to Esther he became Vicar of Trentham in 2017 where he currently serves. “Becoming a Prebendary is an unexpected honour and I look forward to growing into this new role,” said Adrian.
The Revd Jan Waterfield, Vicar of Lichfield Christ Church and Longdon and Rural Dean of Lichfield, who will be appointed to the Prebendary of Sandiacre. "I have lived my entire life in Lichfield diocese, growing up in the Black Country and serving my first years as an ordained minister in Bilston. Eight years ago I moved to serve the parishes of Lichfield, Christ Church and Longdon, where I am also Rural Dean of Lichfield.
"I am married to John and we have two children and three grandchildren. Becoming a prebendary of Lichfield Cathedral is a huge honour, and I hope I will be an asset to the cathedral foundation".
Bishop Michael said: “I am delighted to offer these five clergy Prebendal stalls to recognise their dedication – whether in parish ministry or, as in David’s case, spearheading the diocese’s social justice work for many years. It will be great to recognise their distinguished service by installing them at the cathedral.”
The new prebendaries were due to be installed in the vacant stalls at the cathedral on the afternoon of Sunday 22 November, the Feast of Christ the King, but, due to the national lockdown, will instead by collated online on the same day. An installation service at the cathedral is due to follow in the new year.
Also on 22 November, the Revd Dr Sharon Prentis will become the first honorary Canon Theologian at the cathedral. Sharon will also feature in the installation service at the cathedral in the new year. Canon theologians help bishops, cathedrals and the wider public reflect on matters of the day through a theological lens. Sharon will support the diocese to focus on “full participation and justice,” said Bishop Michael. It is an additional role to her work as the Intercultural Mission Enabler and Dean of Black & Minority Ethnic Affairs for the Church of England, Birmingham, which she will continue. Find out more about Sharon’s appointment in this news story.