The Calling of Bingo

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The Revd Benjamin John Allison was ordained deacon at Derby Cathedral on Sunday 26th June 2016. The cleric was hailed on the Derby Diocese website as ‘an award-winning performance poet.’

The Revd Ben, aged 29 and married with three young children, was appointed as Pioneer Curate of the North Wingfield Team Ministry, a team of five churches of similar evangelical churchmanship. The Team website states: “The ministry of this Team is committed to consistent, ongoing Bible teaching and openness to the work of the Holy Spirit.”

As a successful performance poet, the ordinand had won the Hebden Bridge Festal Slam, Greenbelt Festival Slam and Ted Hughes Festival Slam. Reflections on personal experiences of autism and dyspraxia had appeared in a church resource book on Disability.

Before the 2016 ordination the curate said, “Becoming a deacon means a change a in identity, laying aside my lay identity in order to serve the communities to which I am called in a new and exciting way. I hope to find new ways of doing church which don’t just seek to draw those on the edge of my community into existing services and congregations, but rather build church around them

“I’m most looking forward to finally be able to do what I love full-time: serving my community, and proclaiming the Gospel. It’ll also mean I’ll no longer be a northerner! I have to learn how to minister in the strange, alien culture of North Derbyshire.

“To others considering taking the same step, I say do not be afraid of your weaknesses. Do not be afraid of being vulnerable. The God who has called you will not abandon you.”

However, it appears this pioneering ministry lasted less than a year. The North Wingfield Team PCC’s report to the Charity Commission for the year ended December 2016 records, “At a clergy training event, the North Wingfield Team Clergy came to the conclusion that our clergy team will always be changing. This has proved to be true with Rev Ben Allison leaving us prematurely …”

The Revd Alliandra Bingo Allison was subsequently ordained priest by the Bishop Paul Bayes at Liverpool Cathedral on 25th September 2020 to serve in the parish of St Margaret’s, Toxteth.