The Reverend Patches Chabala with Hilary Young | photo/simonmarsh

PATCHES CHABALA was one of the 16 made Deacon by Peter, Bishop of Chester, in his Cathedral Church this morning. St Michael & All Angels Bramhall, where Patches spent some time on placement, was represented at the service, and joyful prayers of thanksgiving have been offered for the continuing ministry of this gentle Christian witness who has made so deep an impression on so very many of us.

The Church in the twenty-first century will need witnesses of great faithfulness, grace and love; she will need pastors whose hearts are filled with love and compassion for human souls, and who have the desire and the ability to communicate that compassion, quietly and gracefully, in the name of Jesus, to all who need to hear of it. Our experience of Patches Chabala suggests to us strongly that in him the Church will recognise and benefit from all of these graces. Love, prayers and many congratulations are for Patches and Zenaida, and for the parish of St Michael Plas Newton, and Rob Peters their vicar, who will welcome the new ministry with open arms.