All the Bishops and staff at Edward King House recently came together to hold a lunch to say goodbye to the Revd Canon Dr Jeff Heskins who has left the diocese after serving for 11 years in the role of Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO).

Bishop Christopher spoke warmly of his achievements as Jeff came into the diocese at a time when, unlike other dioceses, it was actively recruiting more ordinands. Bucking the prevailing trend, the diocese was advertising for a full-time DDO position and not a part time role; a sign of the importance given to the appointment.  This was also part of Bishop Christopher’s strategic aim to improve both the number and quality of our clergy so as to build a vibrant, sustainable and growing church in the diocese.

Jeff certainly excelled in his role and single-handedly managed to treble the number of new ordinands from 50 to 150 within ten years. The bishop thanked Jeff for his time, for all he had done, his successes and the joy he had brought to the role.

Diocesan Secretary, David Dadswell, also thanked Jeff and in his speech highlighted Jeff’s achievements, not just in his role in the church but also in his life, and there are many – priest, theologian, nurturer of vocations and ministries, academic, author, singer, dapper dresser and ukulele player. 

The final words came from Jeff himself who was keen to be accurate in the numbers of recruits he had managed to place – 155. He joked that people he spoke to about taking up a curacy that they thought ‘up north’ was Nottingham and he asked if they would like to turn right and come to Lincolnshire instead. Lincoln was never initially on their radar until Jeff used his persuasive charm and suggested it to them.

'On the Theological College circuit I was dubbed the ‘Lincolnshire Poacher’ as I went out and brought ordinands to Lincoln Diocese who otherwise might have gone elsewhere.  I think a few of my DDO colleagues might have been a bit awed and afraid when I was around in case I 'pinched' their people!

“I’ve had a fantastic time and think that the Diocese of Lincoln can now walk with a bit of a swagger. In the past we may not have known that but I think we are getting there.”

 He thanked everyone gathered and gave special mention to the curates who he described as a reflection of God as they bravely step out, literally for God’s sake.