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Selina Nisbett - Circuit Deacon

I am delighted to have been appointed Probationer Deacon in the Wantage and Abingdon Circuit. I come with a 4 of my 5 children, 3 of whom are still in full time education, and my daughter, who is working at Milton Park.

We have moved from Tonbridge in Kent, from one river town to another, and fortunately have a full appreciation of the road systems that seem to exist where river run!

My late father was from the South Island of New Zealand, and my late mother from Essex. They spent their working lives travelling all over the world. Consequently, I was born in Tripoli, Libya, and named after a Greek ruin, “The Villa of Selene” near Leptis Magna. A year after the coup in Libya, we had to flee, leaving our belongings behind, and the pattern of living an “itinerant” life style was established, living in Malta, New Zealand, and finally Zambia where I spent my formative years. 

In order to provide stability, my parents sent us to a boarding school in Broadstairs, Kent, where my parents, after their period in Kenya, chose to retire to and where my sister still lives.

I have a background in infant teaching, and have a great interest in anything that is creative and will be exploring aspects of theology through the use of the image as part of my probationary studies. For the previous 6 years I have been a domestic violence advisor and advocate for a charity in Kent, advising on safety aspects, working with statutory agencies, attending court, representing clients at risk assessment conferences, and mentoring new workers.

Prior to coming to Abingdon, I was in training on a part time course, at the South East Institute of Theological Education, at Southwark, alongside my Anglican and Lutheran colleagues which was a deeply enriching experience.

I found my spiritual home in Methodism and felt called to candidate for the Diaconal Ministry, which is two-fold, being both an order of ministry and a member of a dispersed religious order. Like many Deacons, I am not a local preacher, but a worship leader, and I enjoy the challenge of communicating the good news of Jesus Christ, in new, creative and relevant ways in church worship and in ministry beyond the walls of the church building. The Order has a rule of life, which binds us together, which involves the discipline of daily prayer for the world, others, our brothers and sister in the Order and the examen at the close of the day. It includes bible study, worship, maintaining a rhythm of life, engaging regularly with a spiritual director, attending a retreat once a year, attending area groups, and of course, attending the Convocation of the Order which happens yearly in Derbyshire and is always a great joy!

Diaconal ministry, can probably best be summed up in the words used at the Ordination of Deacons: 

“To assist God’s people in worship and prayer, to hold before them the needs and concerns of the world; to minister Christ’s love and compassion; to visit and support the sick and the suffering; to seek out the lost and the lonely; and to help those you serve to offer their lives to God.”

And so I hope and pray very much, that together we can explore and exercise the diaconal ministry of Jesus that we are all called to follow, in order to build the Kingdom! 

Selina Nisbett September 2015

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