Gifts of wine, coffee and chocolate cake were the unusual symbols of ministry which were presented to the Revd Rob Suekarran at his recent licensing service held at St Wilfrid’s Church, Brayton near Selby.
Rob is the latest minister to be appointed by the Diocese of York to develop new worshipping communities focusing on those in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
14 ordained or lay specialist ministers will be commissioned in 13 locations as part of the ’Multiply’ strategy to reach those in their 20s, 30s and 40s across the whole diocese.
Sunday’s licensing at Brayton, led by the Bishop of Selby Dr John Thomson, took place during the normal Sunday morning worship, and was attended by members of the Diocesan Multiply Team.
“It was a great service,” said Rob, “Bishop John’s sermon encapsulated what this ministry is about and Pete the Vicar also articulated his vision for it. I personally found it a really encouraging licensing service … there were moments throughout the service when God's presence was really felt, and the church was very friendly and welcoming."
The parish of Brayton includes the smaller villages of Barlow, Burn, Thorpe Willoughby and parts of the south and west of Selby including several new housing developments. “House building is a feature of the area”, said Rob. “The villages have grown and become more suburban with lots of new estates, lots of young families and lots of people in their 20s to 40s.”
It has become a tradition for gifts representing aspects of the new ministry to be brought forward. “The gift of chocolate cake represented hospitality,” explained Rob, “while coffee represents being out and about as well as meeting people in coffee shops!
“The wine and bread represent priestly ministry, a reminder that while this role might look a bit different it is priestly ministry, and there was a map of the parish representing, again, being out and about and about God leading the way.”
Rob will be working with the Revd Pete Watson and says that his new role will begin with listening. “The listening process is about being rooted in prayer and the scriptures, but it also about listening to the community, to God’s people, so getting to know people, primarily those outside the church.”
The new initiative is being funded by a strategic development grant from the Church Commissioners, and will include many other opportunities for many local churches to receive support for their own ventures to engage this age group.
Rob (34), a former teacher is married to the Revd Hannah Suekarran and they have a baby son. The couple met while studying at Cranmer Hall, St John’s College Durham and married while Rob was serving his curacy at St. Mary’s Church, Strensall, York.