Archdeacons in the Two Cities
With the retirement of the Archdeacons of London and Charing Cross, I have been consulting about future arrangements in the Two Cities.
David Meara combined his responsibilities as Archdeacon for the City of London with the care of the very demanding and significant parish of St Bride’s Fleet Street. Church administration in the City is complex, especially because of the many development opportunities. Martin Sargeant, who supports the Archdeacon of London, has played a key role in seizing these opportunities in a way that has been of great benefit to the church in the Diocese as a whole. The City has been transformed from a deanery which did not even meet its own ministry costs to one that makes a considerable contribution to the common fund. The experience gained and the relationships established in this process might be with advantage shared with the deaneries in the City of Westminster.
Bill Jacob’s retirement has left a substantial gap in both Area and Diocesan leadership and administration. Bill’s portfolio included St Giles-in-the-Fields, the vital safeguarding brief, the Chairmanship of the Diocesan Finance Committee as well as the Archdeaconry of Charing Cross with responsibility for the three deaneries of the City of Westminster, St Margaret’s, Paddington and Marylebone. How Bill kept all the plates spinning is a joyful mystery but bearing in mind how busy he was, as the Bishop of London attended to the various national and international tasks which inevitably fall to the lot of any Londin, I have decided for the future to separate his four main roles.
Alan Carr has already been appointed as Rector of St Giles-in-the-Fields and will be instituted in July. James Normand has generously agreed to take on the Chairmanship of the Finance Committee pending the synodical elections later this year. Bill is still overseeing the safeguarding brief and I am delighted he has agreed to serve as a consultant when a new appointment has been made.
It has been obvious that substantial parochial commitments inhibit the extent to which Archdeacons can be available to parishes especially on Sundays. With all this in mind and after consultation, I have decided to revert to the previous pattern in which the Archdeacon of London relates to the whole of the Two Cities Area without being attached to a demanding parish. The Archdeacon will continue to have a base in the Old Deanery, and Martin Sargeant, with the Archdeaconry support staff, would be available to the whole Area.
The present Archdeacon of Hampstead, The Venerable Luke Miller, has agreed to serve the Two Cities in this way and of course he brings with him five years’ experience of running a large and busy archdeaconry.
In addition, because the safeguarding brief is so significant, I have asked The Reverend Rosemary Lain-Priestley, presently our Dean of Women’s Ministry, to become the Associate Archdeacon. Rosemary has already worked with Bill on many safeguarding issues and is very familiar with the Two Cities having become curate at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1998 and Associate Vicar in 2002. She will work with the safeguarding team but also be available for general archidiaconal duties as and when agreed with the Archdeacon of London. Both Archdeacons will be members of the senior staff team of the Diocese and be involved in general policy formation and DAC work. The Associate Archdeacon is a part-time post and the financial implications of the proposed arrangements should be broadly neutral.
Luke and Rosemary will take up their new offices on the 1st of January 2016.
The new Archdeacons will continue to work closely with the four very experienced Area Deans of the Two Cities whose local knowledge is so invaluable. Prebendary Nick Mercer will continue as Archdeacon of London until the end of the year and I am grateful to him and the Area Deans for all the extra responsibilities they will continue to shoulder.
I envisage an away-day for the whole team in the Area later in the year to review our way of working together and to ensure that the Two Cities plays its proper role in fulfilling the aspirations of Capital Vision 2020.
I am very grateful to all who have had conversations with me or written about the future needs of the Two Cities Area over the past months and I ask for your prayers for the new team.