The number of women ordained at a service at York Minster outnumbered the men for the first time when the Archbishop of York welcomed nine new members of the priesthood yesterday.

Among the eight new women deacons was the Rev Sarah Strand, whose husband Matt is already a curate. She grew up in Tadcaster and met him when he was training to be a priest and she was considering applying for training.

“We kept in touch over Facebook and ended up bumping into each other again at a service in York Minster, and the rest is history,” she said.

“We got married at the end of my first year in theological college, three weeks after Matt was ordained deacon. We’re preparing ourselves at the moment for life as a clergy couple, although not at the same church – I’ll be working at St Peter and St Paul in Stokesley.”

The Rev Matt Strand is curate at St Barnabas in Middlesbrough.

The Archbishop, Dr John Sentamu, said: “Our annual ordinations are a reminder that God is continually calling people to serve the Church and our communities: men and women, from rural, suburban and urban areas, and from many different types of churches. It is wonderful to see such a flourishing of ministry amongst women and men in this Diocese.

“These are very exciting times in the Diocese of York as we seek to be generous churches, making and nurturing disciples. It is fantastic to be welcoming such gifted people to join with us in bringing the transforming presence of Jesus Christ throughout our Diocese.”

The other new deacons, and the parishes or churches where they will work, are: Gareth Atha (Beverley Minster), Lynn Kenny (North Ormesby); Tina Minett Stevens (St Mary, Scarborough); Nicola Penn-Allison (Redcar); Pauline Percy (Crathorne and Kirk Levington with Picton, High and Low Worsall, and Rudby-in-Cleveland with Middleton); Sue Pulko, (Market Weighton); Catherine Reid (Ingleby Barwick); Julie Smith (Saltburn).