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A Warm Welcome for the First Female Archdeacon of Surrey

Published on: 30 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 1 Apr, 2024

The Revd Canon Catharine Mabuza has been formally installed as the first female archdeacon for the Diocese of Guildford, and the new Archdeacon of Surrey, at a service at Guildford Cathedral.

The service of installation for the new Archdeacon of Surrey, held at Guildford Cathedral.

The Diocese of Guildford reports that before the service, the new archdeacon to be made the Declaration of Assent and three oaths, required by law.

The Revd Canon Chris Hollingshurst, Canon Residentiary of Guildford Cathedral, presented her to the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, to be collated.

The bishop responded, saying: “I am delighted to do so and I pray that God’s blessing may rest upon Catharine and the Archdeaconry of Surrey.”

For the collation part of the service, the archdeacon to be kneeled and Bishop Andrew read the Deed of Collation. He then handed the deed to her, saying: “Catharine, receive this ministry, which you and I both share, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Bishop Andrew then anointed her with oil of chrism and prayed for God’s blessing.

In his sermon, Bishop Andrew spoke of the fleeting nature of gifts received by the Bishop of Northern Malawi at the installation which he attended in 2010, and that while those may break or become worn out, God’s promise of wisdom is new every morning to those who ask for it.

From left: The Venerable Stuart Beake, Acting Dean of Guildford Cathedral; the Venerable Catharine Mabuza, Archdeacon of Surrey; the Rt Revd Paul Davies, Bishop of Dorking.

The  Diocese of Guildford has two archdeaconries, Surrey and Dorking, with around 80 parishes in each. They are senior clergy with a key role of pastoral care for the 200-plus clergy in the diocese, helping to enable strategy at a local level, overseeing the care of church buildings and assisting churches in vacancy.

Speaking after her welcome service, the now Venerable Catharine Mabuza said: “This evening has been a wonderful welcome. I’m excited to be joining Guildford diocese where there are clearly many signs of God at work in our communities, schools and churches. I’m really looking forward to getting to know people and learning more.”

Surrounded by friends, family and colleagues, old and new, she starts her new role as the 72nd Archdeacon of Surrey in earnest.

She joins the bishop’s leadership team, working alongside the Bishop of Dorking, Archdeacon of Dorking, diocesan secretary, director of education, and the director of mission.

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