Parish Clergy

Deacon Mike Vipond

Deacon Mike Vipond is married to Ann and they have two sons and three grandchildren. Mike was a teacher working in Edmonton and Walthamstow. He played rugby for the Saracens Rugby Football Club and he has a life-long passion for this game.  Before moving to Suffolk, he was Headteacher of Saint Patrick's Primary School, Walthamstow.

 
Mike and Ann moved to Framlingham in 1979 to work at Framlingham College Junior School, Brandeston Hall.  Mike's ministry is not only at Saint Clare's Church but extends to the wider community in Framlingham, working closely with Churches Together and until recently The Royal British Legion. He is also a governor at Sir Robert Hitcham's C.E.V.A. Primary School and a Trustee of a local charity.  He worked as the Sessional Roman Catholic Chaplain at Hollesley Bay and Warren Hill Prisons for twenty years.
 
Mike was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate by Bishop Alan Clark on 25th May,1991.

 

 

Deacon Peter Coates

Deacon Peter Coates was born during the Second World War in Darlington and was never seen by his father who died on active service in Egypt.  In infancy, Peter was given up for dead on at least two occasions but revived.  These episodes were almost certainly due to the congenital condition known as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which continues to cause problems today and for which there is no cure.

Peter had a primary school report which said “Good sometimes” and a grammar school report which said “There is no false modesty in this boy”.  After grammar school, he worked as a mental nurse, as a care assistant in a hostel for destitute people, and for Dr Barnardo’s Homes before training for ministry in the Methodist Church.  He claimed that his first degree from London University (Bachelor of Divinty) made him the only Methodist Minister with a degree in the Roman Catholic Mass.  His Master of Theology degree is in New Testament Theology and he was found asleep on the floor outside the Examination Room before his final written exam.

At the age of 8, he told his mother hat he had a vocation to be ordained and to work amongst the poorest people.  Most of his ministry in the Methodist Church was based in Inner London and his last appointment was as Chaplain to Rochester Borstal and Secretary of the London South East Synod as well as Chaplain to the European Youth Council and Leader of the first British delegation to the East German Methodist Church.

After leaving the Methodist Church, he worked in Prison Education before becoming Deputy Director of Replan, a government programme working with Further Education Colleges and unemployed people. This led to work on projects sponsored by the European Union. He also gained an academic diploma in Adult Continuing Education, a Master of Education degree and a Fellowship in the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.  During this time, by separate routes, both Peter and his wife Kathleen came to believe that it was right to ask to be received into the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1995, Peter went to Azerbaijan as Team Leader on a project to reform the Ministry of Labour.  This project lasted for a year and Peter has been credited with helping to found the Catholic Church there.  The first public Mass since the communist revolution of 1918 was celebrated in his flat by Father Colin Taylor from the Nottingham Diocese.  After Peter’s visit to the Nuncio in Tiblisi, Georgia, two priests were sent to Baku to establish the parish and build the new Church.

 

 

The following year Peter went to Moldova, to be joined there by Kathleen and their son Alister a few months later.  Moldova had the lowest G.D.P. in Europe and through voluntary work with the Church and with Caritas Moldova while living in a village sharing the people’s lives that early vocation began to be fulfilled. He was later ordained to the Order of Deacons on the Feast of the Epiphany, 6th January, 2001 by the Right Reverend Bishop Anton Cosa who had been ordained a bishop exactly one year earlier in Rome by Pope John Paul II.

Peter continued to work on projects mainly in Moldova but also in Kyrgystan, but eventually the E.D.S. caught up with him again and gave rise to a few misdiagnoses in both countries and the U.K.  The family had to return to England and Peter was very ill in the early part of 2003. After recovering, he became an assistant to the Catholic Chaplain at Feltham Young Offenders Institute until Bishop Anton arranged an American contract enabling Peter to commute to Moldova eight times per year. This was not too difficult as the family were then living in Twickenham close to London Heathrow Airport, but of course in August 2005 the family came to live in Woodbridge.  The charity Moldova not Forgotten was set up to continue the work there and Peter continues to be incardinated to the Diocese of Chisinau.  He was the first Permanent Deacon in Eastern Europe.