A planned ordination service in the Diocese of Carlisle was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that will not stop seven Cumbrians from becoming members of the clergy.

Seven Cumbrians were set to be ordained Deacon at Carlisle Cathedral by the Bishop of Carlisle this weekend, however the nationwide outbreak of Covid-19 meant that the ceremony was postponed to Saturday, September 26.

The Bishop of Carlisle has given permission to those who would have been ordained to exercise the “cure of souls” in the district, enabling them to be employed by the diocese from July 1.

Non-stipendiaries will continue in the ministries they have, before being ordained in September.

Lawrence Basham, Andrew Callaway, Gill Davidson, Duncan Jackson, Jane Nattrass, Nina Orchard and Victoria Sekasi will all serve in mission communities across Cumbria, which are cross-denominational groupings of churches.

Among them is former nurse Gill Davidson, who will serve the Cockermouth Team Area Mission Community, and former Furness Network Youth Church leader, Victoria Sekasi.

Reverend Canon Peter Clement, diocesan director of vocations said: “This has been a difficult and challenging time for all those who were due to be ordained and their families.

“Clearly the pandemic meant the ordination services had to be put on hold, but as places of worship continue to reopen, we can all look forward to a tremendous celebration later in the year."

He said: “Despite the difficulties presented by Covid-19, it is wonderful to know these ordinands can begin their ministry. I would ask that everyone keeps them all in our prayers at this time.”

The latest ordination of priests was also cancelled due to the pandemic.

A deacon is one of the orders of ministry that all clergy in the Church of England are admitted to.

Deacons have a full ministry but, unlike priests, they do not preside at the Eucharist, pronounce the absolution or Trinitarian blessing. Instead, deacons focus on a servant ministry, directing their efforts to the poor and marginalised.