Trainee Portsmouth vicar discovered he was dyslexic after challenges reading Hebrew

A TEACHER discovered he was dyslexic at the start of his training to become a vicar.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 2:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 10:50 am
Rajiv Sidhu will become a curate at St Cuthbert’s Church, Copnor
Rajiv Sidhu will become a curate at St Cuthbert’s Church, Copnor

Married dad-of-two Rajiv Sidhu faced challenges studying Hebrew that spurred him into getting the diagnosis.

It was a surprise after 10 years of teaching - but has not put him off and he is set to become a curate at St Cuthbert’s Church, Copnor.

He will be ordained as a deacon on Saturday alongside others at Portsmouth Cathedral.

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Rajiv, 32, has previously worked on a placement at a prison ministry in Malaysia - the country he grew up in with his grandparents.

He said it was in 2019 with the death of three family members that reinforced the importance of religion - and led to his diagnosis.

He said: ‘In 2019, my uncle, grandfather and mum all died separately and suddenly within a few months. I learnt first-hand the importance of someone offering you a loving, listening ear, as that’s what I needed. I learnt how vital loving pastoral ministry is, and also found solace in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of praying for those who have died. And it was my Hebrew tutor who suggested that I might be dyslexic, which gave me a deeper insight into myself.

‘We are all created in God’s diverse image - and this applies as much to our minds as anything else. What does this look like for church? How can we include, welcome, and celebrate neuro-diversity in Christian spaces and places? We often shy away from the images and symbols in church, though these can be the most effective teachers of the faith.

‘I’m excited about being at St Cuthbert’s, partly because Allie and I think alike, and also because our set-up here is unique, with the community hall, café and GP surgery making it the heart of the community. I’m also keen on exploring ways that we can offer even more pioneering ministry.’

Rajiv and his wife Freya have now moved into Portsmouth with their twins Ranjini and Rajvir, who are both six.

Bishop Rob Wickham, commissary bishop forPortsmouth, will lead the ordination service and it will be streamed on YouTube.

Those being ordained as priests include: The Rev Hannah Barraclough (who will continue to work at Newport and Carisbrooke); the Rev Catherine Edenborough (Portsmouth Cathedral) and the Rev Matthew Grove (Christ Church, Portsdown, and St John’s, Purbrook)

The following people will be ordained as deacons: Derek Johnston (who will work at Cosham and Wymering); Kate Lloyd Jones (Greatham, Empshott, and Hawkley with Priors Dean); Anthony Lawrence (Ventnor and Bonchurch); Katharine Message (Harbour Church, Portsmouth); Heath Monaghan (pioneer minister, All Saints Ryde and Bembridge) and Alison Waterhouse (Petersfield and Buriton).