Peter Ooi, 24, from Penang in Malaysia was commissioned in Lichfield Cathedral yesterday as the latest young person to come to the Diocese as part of the St Chad's Volunteer Programme.
Michael Carding, Coordinator of the St Chad's Volunteer Programme, enthused: "We're very delighted today to have commissioned our latest St Chad's Volunteer. Peter is going to use skills he has working with young people at Christ Church, Bayston Hill (near Shrewsbury) and to work in partnership with the 4 Rural Youth project in the Wrockwardine Deanery."
Pat Hawkins, Canon Chancellor at the cathedral, welcomed Peter, saying: It is a delight for the cathedral to be able to share in the welcome for Peter, and to add our prayers and enthusiastic support for these important links."
The 4 Rural Youth project is one of four mission initiatives launched by Bishop Michael at the 'Come follow Christ - First Steps' event in May. Di Woolridge, who is both Rural Youth Visitor for the Shrewsbury Episcopal Area and leader of the project, said "We're really excited to have Peter share his skills and passion for youth ministry with the 4 Rural Youth project. We hope his experience and enthusiasm will encourage our young people to grow as disciples and take up opportunities to develop as young leaders."
"Peter has only been with us for a fortnight or so, but is settling in well and has already been able to get involved in our youth work," said Revd Peter Hubbard, Vicar of Bayston Hill. "He's also been recommended as a gifted musician and we look forward to his being able to join with our music team."
"After my graduation with a degree in Management and Marketing in 2016, I decided to take a period of time to explore. Hence, I worked as a barista at a local cafe for seven months. Before I came to UK for St. Chad's Volunteer Programme, I worked as an intern at my home church, St Paul's Church, Penang.
"I am excited to discover local cultures (languges, British jokes, food) and different places. Ultimately, I am looking forward to attend, serve and meet people from local churches. I believe that throughout this year in Christ Church Bayston Hill and Wrockerdine deanery will be an eye-opening experience for me."
"Peter has been given a great welcome and has been helped by Abbey Liew, another SCVP volunteer who has been at the neighbouring parish of Meole Brace since February." says Michael. "The SCVP is a fantastic two-way opportunity for those age 18-35 to explore their faith and future through serving in a church in a different culture. Many have come to Lichfield Diocese from our link Dioceses of Malaysia, Nordkirche, Matlosane and Qu'Appelle. But equally important is that young people from this diocese have the opportunity to join the programme and spend anywhere from six to 12 months abroad."
Michael is one of a group that, together with Bishop Michael will be meeting St Chads Volunteers past and present in Singapore and Malyasia later this month as the bishop makes his first visit to our link dioceses in SE Asia and also to the consecration of Auckland Cathedral, whose first bishop was George Augustus Selwyn, later the 91st bishop of Lichfield.