Deaconess Susan Essam

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Awarded to Deaconess Susan C. Essam for her contribution to Theological Education by Extension in Nigeria.

Susan read music and gained her teaching qualifications at Southampton University She later worked in the Diocese of Worcester, becoming an ordained deaconess in 1980.

In December 1983 Susan moved to Jos, in Nigeria, and for eight years travelled widely, teaching, preaching, writing in diocesan publications and leading TEE. She then moved to become the Rt. Revd Dr Benjamin A Kwashi’s Administrative Chaplain and, in spite of much unrest and clashes between Christians and Muslims (over 1000 died in Jos in 2001 when the city erupted into a violence which has continued over the years) she was involved in many aspects of church life. She was also Director of Music at St Luke’s Cathedral and Head of the School of Music at the Diocesan Christian Institute with a total of 70 theology students. In February 2000 she became acting Dean of the Christian Institute.

Sue and WelbyShe said in 2002: “l remain a deaconess because the church of Nigeria does not ordain priests, however, I preach frequently: about once a month at the cathedral, and more often at the Chapel of the Christian institute. There are plenty of opportunities for pastoral work in aspects of life and work.”

Her wIMG_0418ritings include various bible studies, a prayer book in Hausa, a one-year postgraduate diploma and a BD course where key concerns were discipline, integrity and humility. Bishop Ben Kwashi describes her as ‘one of the family‘
. Her unequivocal and lifelong commitment to the people of the middle belt of Nigeria has been exceptional.