Interviews with our Newest Deacons… Being Ordained Next Week at a Parish Near You!

Next week we will celebrating the ordination of four new deacons in the Diocese. We asked them a few questions to get to know know them and know how we can pray for them…

Jesse Baker
Ordination: 27 June at 6pm, Camden Haven Anglican Church

What is your life history in two sentences?
I was born and raised in the Camden Haven as a lover of the bodyboarding, music, baked goods, rugby league and Jesus. I moved away from home at eighteen to study the scriptures; In this time, I met my wife, Jessica. After college, we returned to the Camden Haven Anglican Church. I served as a Youth Pastor and continued to study theology. In that time, our child, Evelyn, was born.

What three things bring you joy?
The greatest joy of my life is to live under the universal reign of God in Christ. This great joy is followed by my family: my devoted wife, Jessica, my bubbly toddler, Evelyn, and my extended church community. Alongside these joys, I love a good coffee alongside a thought-provoking read.

What books have been most formative in your life?
This is a hard question. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s punchy little book on spiritual formation, ‘Life Together,’ would be up there. This would be closely followed by J.I. Packer’s, ‘Knowing God,’ Mark Sayers, ‘The Road Trip that Changed the World’, Christopher Wright’s ‘The Mission of God,’ Gerald Bray’s ‘God is Love’, Timothy Keller’s ‘Centre Church’, and Douglas Moo’s commentary, ‘The Epistle to the Romans.’

What parts of church life have you enjoyed being involved in during your placement?
I thoroughly enjoyed equipping the saints for service, managing teams of leaders, preparing and preaching expository sermons, creating systems and strategies for growth, analysing the shifts and changes in our culture, teaching scripture, visiting the sick, implementing new ministries, and witnessing broken youth and families experience the love of God in Christ.

What is one lesson you have learnt during formation?
I learnt the importance of asking the question, ‘Why does this make me feel uncomfortable?” By asking such a question, I was able to grow in my self-awareness and examine how my preferences and experiences may impact upon other people.

What does the 21st Century church look like to you?
The 21st Century church is an ageing and declining church. Since we are living in a cultural shift that is increasingly post-Christian, we are in a time whereby we need to reconsider the effectiveness of our past approaches to ministry. Even though this rethinking may be painful, such a critical analysis may help us to foster new environments whereby the next generation can taste and experience the love of God in Christ.

How can our Diocese pray for you?
Pray that I will continue to obtain the skills, wisdom and humility necessary for faithfully lead the people of God into maturity.


Zeb McKrell
Ordination: 28 June at 6pm, Cessnock Anglican Church

What is your life history in two sentences?
A life journey that started at Holy Trinity Windale, fostered and grown through the love and generosity of a few. Helping me to discern what God is calling me to do with my life.

What three things bring you joy?
– Seeing people grow in the knowledge that Jesus loves them.
– Working with groups outside of the church.
– Spending time with my wife.

What books have been most formative in your life?
– The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
– The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis
– Here I Am by Richard Giles

What parts of church life have you enjoyed being involved in during your placement?
– Working with the unchurched, especially through Scripture (both building connections with students and teachers), Mainly Music with Mums and Grandparents, and working with Correctional Services with a community program.

What is one lesson you have learnt during formation?
That the goodness of God is always there in the horribleness of life.

What does the 21st Century church look like to you?
One where people can come to know that God in Jesus Christ loves, forgives, and welcomes them. Wanting all people to live into being imitators of God, beloved children, living in love as Christ loved us.

How can our Diocese pray for you?
– With joy, that Jesus stirs up in people vocations. That even in this climate of decline, and unsurety God works in the hearts of people driving people like me to give our life to God.


Melanie Whalley
Ordination: 29 June at 6pm, Singleton Anglican Church

What is your life history in two sentences?
I was born and raised in the Upper Hunter with a life full of adventure and love. My life has been a journey towards growing into who I am called to be by God.

What three things bring you joy?
My Family, spending time with God in nature and my ministry.

What books have been most formative in your life?
The Bible especially the Gospels, plus; A Spring Within Us – A Year of Daily Meditations – Richard Rohr, The Challenge of Change – Phil Potter and The Wounded Healer – Henri Nouwen.

What parts of church life have you enjoyed being involved in during your placement?
I have enjoyed been involved in all ministry during my placement, especially ministry on the edges. Ministry with the Drop in Group and Messy Church has been really joyful for me.

What is one lesson you have learnt during formation?
Only one? One of my lessons was being able to account for a theologically diverse congregation when preaching.

What does the 21st Century church look like to you?
The 21st Century Church will mostly look like a Church doing the work of God on the edges. Most of its work will be with the unchurched, the de-churched, the marginalised and the oppressed within our society.

How can our Diocese pray for you?
Please pray for my family during this time of change. Please also, pray for me as I prepare to take the next step on following God’s call on my life.


Angela Peverell
Ordination: 30 June at 6pm, Christ Church Cathedral

What is your life history in two sentences?
One of my greatest joys is that I am adopted and that my family has loved me with the sort of love God has for me. I have always been a child of God who’s wrestled with her calling and who has had the privilege of family life, motherhood, a great corporate career… but most of all, can now be God’s servant in the world.

What three things bring you joy?
Jesus brings me more joy than I’ve ever known. When I see God at work in other people’s lives and their faith in God restored, it brings tears to my eyes. My two beautiful children – a 25 year old boy and a 28 year old girl.

What books have been most formative in your life?
Absolutely the Bible, also the prayer book. My favourite authors are Rowan Williams, Richard Rohr, N.T. Wright, Thomas Moore. Novels based on characters from the Bible, particularly ones we don’t know much about, which tend to be women. I love The Red Tent, which talks about the rape of Dinah.

What parts of church life have you enjoyed being involved in during your placement?
I love the worship. I absolutely adore being part of the community meal, sitting and sharing a meal together. There are people in our community who have hit hard times, and I like working with the volunteers to provide them a warm meal and fellowship. Also pastoral visiting – visiting someone in their own space, sharing extended communion, prayer and to share their lives.

What is one lesson you have learnt during formation?
Things are not always what they seem – don’t react, respond.

What does the 21st Century church look like to you?
Same buildings, varied styles of worship. I want to offer different genres within the same parish – evangelical, Anglo-Catholic, youth and family ministries, ministry to the elderly etc. A church that reflects what the community needs to build up the kingdom of God

How can our Diocese pray for you?
Pray for me for continued courage, humility and faithfulness to pursue my call to serve God. I ask for the Diocese to help me have the strength and resilience, and to help me to live out my calling to be God’s church in the world.