Godmanchester curate ordained by the Bishop of Ely

A YEAR ago, Godmanchester curate Mary Jepp was ambushed at her ordination as deacon by a young man in British Army desert fatigues. Last weekend, the same soldier – her eldest son Robin – arrived in time to be in the congregation for the whole of Mrs Jepp

A YEAR ago, Godmanchester curate Mary Jepp was ambushed at her ordination as deacon by a young man in British Army desert fatigues.

Last weekend, the same soldier - her eldest son Robin - arrived in time to be in the congregation for the whole of Mrs Jepp's ordination as a fully-fledged Church of England priest at Ely Cathedral.

Last June, Robin, who was serving in the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, returned from Afghanistan only minutes before the Bishop of Ely, Dr Anthony Russell, ordained his mother.

Still in his desert kit, he arrived at the church after the ceremony had started. His mother, who had her back to the congregation, had no idea he was at the service until the Peace - the point in the middle of the service when members of the congregation greet each other.

"He came forward and gave me a big hug," she said. "It was a highly emotional moment. He even left some desert sand on my white robes."

This year, she was one of 16 clergy ordained by the Bishop of Ely and the new Bishop of Huntingdon, the Dr David Thomson. Six of them have joined parishes in Huntingdonshire.

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Mrs Jepp, 53, a Canadian, married an RAF officer she met in northern Labrador. Until March last year, she was a peripatetic special needs teacher in schools across north Cambridgeshire. They moved from Ramsey to Godmanchester to take up her new r�le. Son Robin is soon to start officer training at Sandhurst.

Another of the new ordinands, musician Brenda Stewart, will assist the rural dean of Huntingdon, the Rev Brian Atling, who is also Rector of Houghton with Wyton and the Riptons.

Mr Atling said his new curate "is a great addition to our growing life in Houghton. We had a wonderful welcome service for her on Sunday."

Mrs Stewart, a mother of two, is a musician and teacher - her first instrument is the viola, and she also sings - was licensed as a lay minister in Ely in 2003. Her husband Steve Bingham is a violinist, who leads the Bingham String Quartet, the Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cambridge Orchestra. He also conducts the Ely Sinfonia.

Other new priests to serve in the district are the Rev Sarah Gower in the parish of St Mary, St Neots, the Rev Timothy Hayward Buckden with the Offords, the Rev Gita Bond in the Ramseys and Upwood, and the Rev Timothy Yau in Farcet and Hampton.

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