Derry diocese ordinations hit a 10-year high as deacons heed call
It may be an increasingly secular world, but the Church of Ireland in the Derry and Raphoe Diocese is experiencing the highest number of ordinations in 10 years.
Bishop Ken Good ordained four new deacons at the weekend - all of whom have previously held down other jobs.
They are Rev Elizabeth Fitzgerald who will serve as Deacon-Intern in Donagheady; Rev Rhys Jones who is going to Castledawson; Rev Robert Wray who has been appointed to the parish Christ Church, Culmore, Muff, and St Peter's and Rev Chris MacBruithin who will serve in St Augustine's, Londonderry.
By contrast, the Catholic Diocese in Derry has so far only celebrated one ordination this year, down from four in 2013.
Bishop Good said: "Each of the four deacons have their own story about how their faith has been important to them. "While they have come from other occupations - one was a physiotherapist, one a teacher and two from the civil service - they were all very active within their own parishes prior to their ordination.
Rev Chris MacBrithin, who quit his job as a teacher, is excited to start his new calling in St Augustine's within the city centre.
He said: "I think I was the last person to realise I had been called to the ministry because my wife, family and friends had all been suggesting that I consider it for quite some time.
"I did do a lot of work within the parish, working with young people and doing some preaching and previously I had done missionary work in Bolivia with an organisation called Latin Link.
"It wasn't until my own minister told me one day that he thought I was doing too much and asked me to pick one thing amongst them all that I could give up.
"I had a think about it and came to the conclusion that the one thing I could give up was my day job as a teacher.
"That really was a moment of realisation for me - much as I loved being a teacher I knew then that it was God's calling that mattered most.
"That was in 2013 and since then I have been studying and I am excited to begin work," he said.