Archdeacon Graham Ovenden RIP

The Venerable Graham Ovenden died suddenly on Monday 19 November 2018 after a fall.  He was aged 78.  Graham’s funeral service will be held at St Peter’s, Palmerston North at 12noon on Saturday 24 November.  Clergy are invited to robe in alb and white stole please.

Graham Robert Ovenden was born in England in 1940.  He trained as a Quantity Surveyor there, before immigrating to New Zealand with a young family in 1975.  Not long after arriving here he sensed a call to ordained ministry and entered St John’s College for the first semester of 1981.

In 1983, he was ordained to the Diaconate and served a curacy under Archdeacon Maurice Le Fevre in Feilding, before being installed as the Vicar of St Matthew’s Palmerston North in 1986.  In 1995, Graham became the Hospital Chaplain in Wanganui.  He left this role in 1999 to accept the position of Vicar of Carterton, with the unenviable task of succeeding Archdeacon Douglas Weaver.  He became Archdeacon of the Wairarapa in 2000, a position he held until he retired to the Manawatu in 2006.  On retirement, he was awarded the title Archdeacon Emeritus, served as Priest in Charge at St Peter’s, Palmerston North from 2006 to 2008 and became Manawatu Chaplain to the Retired Clergy.

From early in his ordained ministry, Graham was made a member of the Diocesan Social Services Committee, a position he held for many years.  He was a Cursillista, along with his wife Mary, and served as a Spiritual Advisor within the movement.  Graham was a committed supporter of the Bible Society.

In retirement, Graham has been an active member of the clergy team at St Peter’s.  In this role, he has been greatly loved and respected.  We will miss his thoughtfulness and listening ear.  He was a faithful priest of God, who will be missed by many, not least by his family, sons Rob and Edward, brother Keith and sister Barbara.  Please uphold them in your thoughts and prayers at this time.

Well done good and faithful servant – may he rest in peace and rise in glory.