Meet the Steering Group

deacon self

Chair and website manager

I’m Gill Kimber (diocese of Exeter). 

I’ve been a distinctive deacon for 31 years:  prior to this, I was a mission partner in Northern Nigeria, and subsequently with the Church Mission Society in Romania.  This gave rise to my MPhil ‘Mission Impossible?’ about the challenges of interconfessional mission.  I was Warden of the College of St Philip the Deacon, diocese of Exeter, for 7 years and am currently chair of the CofE Network of Distinctive Deacons.  I’m a diocesan assessor for distinctive deacons. I attend a small FEx church on an estate, run by a Church Army lay captain.  And I’m retired.  Allegedly!


Deacon Mike Turnbull


I’m Mike Turnbull (diocese of Chichester). 

My Diaconal journey has its roots in my career as a neighbourhood Police officer. I served in West Yorkshire Police and later in Sussex Police, where I retired having completed 30 yrs service in 2008.  By then I was involved with church life and gradually felt drawn to explore ordained ministry in the Church.  

Right from the start of this process, I felt my eyes gazing beyond the church door and out into the community- “how does the church speak to those beyond its walls?” was the question that kept popping into my head and still does most days.  

After discernment, selection and training, I was ordained to the Distinctive Diaconate, at Chichester Cathedral, in June 2012. I moved into hospital Chaplaincy in Sept 2016, where I continue to reach out to those “beyond the church”. I also provide chaplaincy support to both serving and retired Police officers in East Sussex.

deacon gill newman

I’m Gill Newman (diocese of Chelmsford).

I started to sense a calling to ordination whilst volunteering as a chaplain at a London hospital. Shortly after entering the discernment process I realised, to my surprise and joy, that my call was to be a Distinctive Deacon. I trained at St Mellitus college in London and was ordained as a DD in 2017. I currently work as a hospital chaplain at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.


Deacon David Bean

Treasurer and social media Twitter moderator @CofeDeacons

I’m David Bean (diocese of Southwell and Nottingham).

Ordained at Petertide 2018. Currently the only Distinctive Deacon in the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham– but not for long!

Self supporting – part-time day job with a local Almshouse Charity.

Ministry “portfolio”- one third Town Centre Chaplain, one third Assistant Curate and one third NHS chaplain.

Member of Unite, the Union Faithwork Branch (Church of England Clergy Advocates).

Always up for a discussion about the vocation of Distinctive Deacons – get in touch!


Deacon Liz Carrington

Education adviser

I’m Liz Carrington (diocese of York).

I lead the Green Group at my church, which has gained Silver Eco-Church status, and am part of the Diocesan Environment Group. Aside from taking part in services, I visit the local business community in the parish and take communion to older people in sheltered accommodation. With others from local churches I am part of ecumenical group prayer, walking around churches in the locality. Outside the parish, I coordinate the chaplaincy team at York racecourse, volunteer with YOYO (York Schools and Youth Trust) and have recently stepped down from Street Angels in York after ten years. At the kind invitation of the Methodist Diaconal Order I join in with the Yorkshire and Humberside Area Group. In between, I am a personal tutor for students from my local Theological Training Institution (St Hild’s Mirfield).


Deacon Alison Handcock

I’m Alison Handcock (diocese of Bath and Wells).

I was ordained Deacon in 2015, and am passionate about reimagining the church, breaking the walls that divide us, and enabling Christians to be released in creative ways. I have recently become part of a peacebuilding team in our diocese to help us deal creatively with conflict, encourage unity in diversity and negotiate this time of loss and transition in the church.

Locally I describe myself as a ‘rambling chaplain’, working across our deanery. I create funerals mainly for unchurched families at the crematorium and have been training Readers in funeral ministry. I co-facilitate an ecumenical group GEMS, which Gathers, Equips, Mobilises and Supports women. I spiritually accompany ‘edgy’ and pioneering lay leaders and some folk who have left the church.

I ponder the ‘sacramental’ calling of Deacons, and what Church might look like if the ‘sacraments’ were released to the world.  What if every Christian was equipped and ‘sent out’ to participate in God’s mission with our communities, particularly the marginalised or forgotten? 


paul hollingworth

Social media:  Whatsapp GoDeacons group

I’m Paul Hollingworth (diocese of Winchester)

I was ordained a permanent deacon (as the Catholic church calls its deacons) in 2010, but not long after, I started to question the RC Church’s teachings, which eventually led to seeking my return to the Church of England as a Deacon.  Romsey Abbey community, the ministry team and Bishop Tim welcomed me with open arms. 

I  felt clearly that my calling was to be a deacon, not a priest.  A deacon at ordination is told “Theirs is a life of visible self-giving.  Christ is the pattern of their calling and their commission; as he washed the feet of his disciples, so they must wash the feet of others.  Searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely…..into the forgotten corners of the world.”  Therefore, a Deacon is a humble servant reflecting Christ the servant to all, and normally comes out of and serves the community he or she is in.

I do have liturgical roles within the Abbey, to assist the priest and serve the congregation; but my main ministry is outside the building, acting as a town centre deacon, taking God to everyone, especially showing Christ the humble servant to those in need.


rachel fielding

Social media Facebook moderator

I’m Rachel Fielding (diocese of Blackburn)

I spent many years working both part and full time as a Virger at Blackburn Cathedral – where I felt God had placed me. Following a chance conversation, I was led to question the role of Deacons outside of liturgy: the rest, you may say, is history. I am now in my 3rd year studying part time with Emmanuel Theological College and, God willing, will be ordained next Petertide. Having worked in Care Home Chaplaincy, I am now a Hospital Chaplain and handler of the Trust’s therapy dog. I am passionate about raising the awareness of the calling of Distinctive Deacon. 


abi davison 2

I’m Abi Davison (diocese of York)

I felt a clear calling to the diaconate while still at university: it took a little while to answer that call and it did get a little confusing when I was told the Church of England doesn’t have deacons!

I graduated, returned to York, married and became involved in the York Street Angels and then in York racecourse chaplaincy.  Here I met Deacon Liz who put me straight on the existence of Deacons in the CofE. 

I trained for ordination part-time while working in the NHS. I was ordained in 2018 in York Minster, where I then served my curacy (first post after ordination).  During curacy I moved to work in the local hospice and later changed posts to be Spiritual Care Lead which is where I have remained since. I also love working with the Scouts!