Teacher answers call from above as she becomes a deacon

ON A MISSION Back row from left, Edward Glastonbury, Xavier Wiesner and Reuben Honeychurch-Turner. Front from left  Cassady Brooks, headteacher Alice Wood and Saskia Quarrie-Jones
ON A MISSION Back row from left, Edward Glastonbury, Xavier Wiesner and Reuben Honeychurch-Turner. Front from left Cassady Brooks, headteacher Alice Wood and Saskia Quarrie-Jones
Staff and pupils at Fareham College celebrate

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PRIMARY school headteacher Alice Wood says God’s guidance led her to becoming a deacon.

The St Alban’s Primary School headteacher will be ordained in her new role, along with eight other deacons and five priests, at a ceremony in Portsmouth Cathedral on June 30.

She will juggle her day job at the West Leigh school, where she has been head for 10 years, with the new role.

Mrs Wood said a walk home from the vicarage of her home church at St Matthew’s Church in Blackmoor, where she is a Sunday school teacher, guided her to a new chapter of her life.

She said: ‘I thought perhaps it was a call to be a reader and went to see my vicar, the Rev Will Hughes. He said “I’ve been waiting for you to talk to me about this. I think you should go for the priesthood”.

‘As I walked home in the pitch black, I knew that was it. On another occasion, I was wondering if I should send in the last bit of paper to apply, when a lady from our church said “Alice, I’ve had a picture from God of you wearing a priest’s outfit behind the altar”. I’d asked for confirmation from God and there it was.’

She will be ordained by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster.

Candidates are ordained as a deacon, which means they are called ‘the Reverend’ and can lead church services.

A year later they can be ordained as a priest, which is a role Mrs Wood is due to take up next summer.

She spent three years studying on the Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme in Salisbury, and carried out reading and essay-writing in her spare time, before completing the course last week.

It led her to theological day trips, including one to Southall in London, where she visited a mosque and a Hindu temple.

She added: ‘I’ve filmed pupils and used some of their work as part of the course, including the Profile of God from Year 2. Being a student helped me to re-examine the learning process and make some changes at school too.

‘I’ve really enjoyed the depth of the study, the reading, the discussion with other students from different denominations, and the residential weekends with like-minded fellow students.’

‘I’m excited about my new role and all my staff and governors are invited to the ceremony.’

Mrs Wood will be assistant curate at St Andrew’s and Church of the Resurrection in Farlington and will continue her job with the church at evenings and weekends.

Among those being ordained is Mark Tariq, who came to the UK from Germany in 2006 to study international business studies and spent three years studying at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.

Anne McCabe will start work at Christ Church, Portsdown, after two years at Ripon College, Cuddesdon.