What are you thankful for this year?

God has moved among us in so many ways – sometimes in ways we all see, yet sometimes in the smallest of ways that only a few of us bear witness to.  We encourage you to come to our Diocesan Thanksgiving and Ordination, and bring as many people from your mission unit as possible.  The wonderful “family celebration” will occur at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul on the 23rd of November, from 10am until 3pm.

Here’s what to expect from the Thanksgiving and Ordination

As we come, we encourage you to bring hearts full of gratitude, ready to share the many ways in which we can be thankful to God for how He has moved among us this year.  We’ll celebrate with those who are answering the call to ordination, and then we’ll relax and connect with each other over lunch, with opportunities to learn what God’s been up to throughout our movement, and to share what He’s been doing in your local context, before ending with the Great Thanksgiving of Eucharist.

Spreading the word

We really encourage you to spread the word amongst your mission unit, and extend an invitation to the diocesan family to come along.  Here’s how you can spread the word:

  • Use this poster on your church noticeboards.
  • Put this slide in your notices and announcements.
  • Include wording from this Family Celebration website in your church newsletter.
  • Share this event on your Facebook page.

Graham Conlon

Hey, my name is Graham Conlon and I am based in the rural parish of the Oroua in the Manawatū where I have lived with my wife Su and our girls Angharad and Niamh since moving here from England in 2004. It has been a great privilege and an adventure to lead into our rural communities and see Christ at work here. I have a passion for empowering people into following Christ’s lead to grow the rural church. I am full time teacher at Feilding High School where I am also the hostel chaplain. I look forward to continuing to serve as part of the team in the Oroua and the wider Diocese.

Simon Falconer

I am married to Jessica and father to Samuel and Elijah. I am the Co-Minister in Charge of the parishes of Ōtaki and Levin. I have a strong call to the area to see lives transformed. I love that Jesus gives you your best life and want others to experience this. I knew that I was meant to be a pastor for a long time ago but took at 15-year detour. I also have a Fortnite team with my sons and nephew. We have won two Battle Royales since the new release. We are aiming to enter the Contender League before the end of the year.

Sonya Lewthwaite

I serve as a chaplain at Ramsey House Anglican Chaplaincy, Victoria University. I have a background in Theology, and taught Biblical Theology at The Salvation Army Booth College of Mission before becoming mother to Elspeth (11 months). My husband Jon and I live in Naenae, and have worshiped at St Paul’s Waiwhetū for the past four years.

Froduald Mugarineza

Kia ora koutou, I am married to Cecile and God blessed us with three children: Hycenta, Solomon and Gloria. We live in Stokes Valley and we’re part of Journey Christian Fellowship based at St Paul’s, Waiwhetū. I feel so humbled by God’s call to be part of this incredible journey.


Māmari Stephens (Te Rarawa, Ngāti Pākehā)

Tēnā tātou. I am married to Maynard Gilgen and we have three tamariki, Te Rangihuia (16) Havelund (13) and Jessica-Lee Ngātaiotehauauru (9). I teach and research at the Faculty of Law at Victoria University of Wellington. My ministry calls me to the ongoing story of Māori Christianity in this land, and I am an Associate Chaplain (Māori) at Vic. I also wrangle our youth group at my home parish of St Michael’s and All Ages, Kelburn and attend Tikanga Māori services at St Michael’s, Newlands.

Wendy Thornburrow

My year as a deacon at St Matthew’s Masterton has been amazing and has confirmed my call to the priesthood. This will be the fulfilment of the call I received as a teenager.

I have been on my own now for four and half years since my husband of 39 years died. It is a challenge doing ministry on my own after working alongside my husband who was a minister and a pastor all our married life. I enjoy being a funeral celebrant and a locum hospital chaplain. I am very grateful for the support of my 4 adult children and their families. My 8 delightful grandchildren give me much pleasure.

I am humbled and honoured that God’s call on my life has been recognised by others and I look forward to many years of service wherever God leads.

Alan Wilson

I am married to Alana and have four adult children, Rebekah, Miriam, Ben and Rachael. I am privileged to be part of and serve within the St Aidan’s Peninsular Parish church family in Miramar, Seatoun and Strathmore. I work as a paramedic lecturer on the Paramedic programme at Whitireia Polytechnic. I give thanks to God for the call to serve in ordained ministry and feel humbled and honoured to be taking this next step on the journey.


Read about last year’s Thanksgiving and Ordination