After six years serving as Bishop’s Planning Officer David Burrows is set to retire from the role. So we spoke to him about what this role entails and the type of person you need to be to take it on.
Pursuing our vision of being a bigger church making a bigger difference means a number of things to a range of people. But to Rev David Burrows for the last 6 years it has meant helping parishes and deaneries think creatively about change and supporting them through the Church of England legal processes to enable that change to happen. Working with an Assistant BPO and supported by staff at St James House, David crucially supports the Archdeacons as they work to help us become fit for mission.
With a background in what is known as forensic accountancy, David was trained to interpret complex information and make it easier for the lay person to understand and work with. This experience stood him in good stead as he embarked on a crucial role within our diocese.
As he explains David never expected to be in this role “on a church course about Leading into Growth I had a strong sense of God saying he had a job for me. But I never expected it to be Planning Officer. However at the same time the team were praying for someone to be called into this role and it soon emerged this was the direction for my life.”
The role is challenging and demands a lot of tact, skill and patience. “if people are up for it then it is easy” explains David, “but it’s about change and we all react differently to change. My role is to give good advice and to take deaneries and PCC’s on a journey where they can understand the need and benefits of doing things differently.”
But David says “it’s good when it comes to fruition. The 4 Saints team in Huyton Deanery really understood what this was all about and have embraced a change that enabled them to move forward. And supporting some of the changes in other deaneries has been really important and fulfilling”.
And it will remain crucial. “we are starting to think about Super Parishes and as we do we will need to think creatively around the legal challenges that this will entail. This will make for an interesting time for my successor “.
That successor will need to be able to think on their feet, have good administrative skills and a sound knowledge of the legislation. They will also need to be a good team worker able to relate to a wide range of people.
As for David, he will miss the friendships he has made but looks forward to a more relaxed retirement. He goes with our thanks for all he has done and blessings for his future.
Could you be our next planning officer
The Bishops' are seeking a new Bishop's Planning Officer to take forward the work carried out by David. Could this be you?
Read the role description
Then contact your Archdeacon for an informal discussion.
Bishop Paul said
"as we get ourselves fit for mission we need to think creatively about this and have the proper structures and safeguards in place. David has been excellent in this role encouraging deaneries and parishes to embrace the change we all need if we are to be a bigger church making a bigger difference. I thank him for all his work and pray that we find a worthy successor so we continue to work to build God's kingdom."