Thanksgiving and Ordination, 2019

Wellington Cathedral of St Paul was full of joy on Saturday the 23rd of November 2019, as our diocesan whānau gathered to celebrate the ordination of seven new priests in a day full of worship, thanksgiving, fun, laughter and friendship.

There was a strong sense of joy and the presence of God as our newly ordained priests were prayed for by Bishop Eleanor and Bishop Justin, and received tautoko and waiata from their parish and whānau support groups.

The Thanksgiving continued with a relaxed atmosphere, as friends and family caught up over coffee and food sold as a fundraiser by the Anglican Chinese Mission and other diocesan groups.

Bouncy castles were on hand for the children, and volunteers from Johnsonville parish provided active listening activities during the service.

The eventful day was capped off with a celebratory Eucharist, at which our priests administered Communion.  The day was a beautiful finale to what has been a stunning year of God’s goodness among us.

Meet our new ordained priests:

From left: Bishop Justin, Alan Wilson, Wendy Thornburrow, Simon Falconer, Graham Conlon, Froduald Mugarineza, Māmari Stephens, Sonya Lewthwaite, Bishop Ellie.














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 Angels, 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 grateful for the support of my 4 adult children and their families. My 8 delightful grandchildren give me much pleasure. I am humbled 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.