Life-long ambition fulfilled during rare service
One man’s life-long ambition has been fulfilled, when following special permission from the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was not only ordained as a deacon, but also as a priest.
Peter Skellern, 69, had first dreamt of ordination as a nine-year-old but a successful career as a musician meant he never quite had time to investigate his childhood calling further.
That all changed two and a half years ago when finally Peter, who lives in Lanteglos-by-Fowey, was put forward for ordination training. But his path was far from smooth. It was during this time that Peter was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
“For about a week I hung in this abyss and I just grabbed God. I was given a year to live and everything fell, apart from my belief in God. It was like that for about a week and then God closed the ground beneath me and I became resigned and happy and I have been like that ever since.”
It was then that Bishop Tim suggested Peter continue on his ordination journey. Peter said: “It is very unusual for someone to be ordained as a deacon and a priest at the same time. I was amazed Bishop Tim suggested it. It was just staggering for me. On the day I just felt wonderful.”
St Wyllows Church in Lanteglos-by-Fowey was full with over 120 of Peter’s friends and family including wife Diana and fellow clergy, all there to support him as he finally fulfilled his 60-year-old calling.
“People had come from all over, my friends from London, my friends from Cornwall and it was just wonderful.”
Bishop Tim ordained Peter under a special faculty from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Bishop Tim said: “It was a privilege to ordain Peter as deacon and priest. It was a most unusual event and I was very pleased that the Archbishop of Canterbury was so willing to grant a faculty to allow this to happen.
“Peter has been considering a sense of vocation for a very long time and it is tragic in many ways that as he has had this calling confirmed he was diagnosed with cancer. It seemed right to me that he should be ordained both deacon and priest so that God can continue to work through him and, in his life and ministry, he can be faithful to becoming the person God wants him to be.”
He added: “I am praying for both Peter and Diana in this extraordinary time for them both.”
Revd Marilyn Elliott, Priest in Charge at Lanteglos-by-Fowey, said: “It was an honour and a privilege to be a part of such a unique and uplifting service for a man who has already had such a marvelous ministry in this community and beyond. My thanks to Archbishop Justin and Bishop Tim for enabling this to happen.”