The Diocese of Liverpool can announce that Mr Michael Rooke, former vicar of St John the Evangelist in Knotty Ash has left the vicarage.
It will now be made ready for the Rev Roy Doran to move in when he starts as Vicar there in February 2009.
The Diocese has been in discussions with Mr Rooke and his representatives since he was declared unfit for duty by a consistory court. Mr Rooke will now move to a private property away from Liverpool.
The Archdeacon of Liverpool Ven Ricky Panter, who has led the negotiations which resulted in Mr Rooke’s departure, said, “We are very pleased that the vicarage at Knotty Ash has come back into our possession in good time to prepare for the Rev Roy Doran to start his ministry.
“It has been a distressing and uncertain time for all involved and I would like to pay tribute to the patience and dedication of those at St John the Evangelist during this period. With regard to Mr Rooke’s lengthy incumbency at Knotty Ash, there were some good moments, but overall an unprecedented and very sad situation developed which has been exceedingly difficult to resolve.”
After taking advice the Diocese opted to negotiate an agreement for Mr Rooke to leave the vicarage. Ricky Panter said, “We were determined, if possible, to avoid legal action against Mr Rooke as we believed that this would not serve anyone’s interests. We are also concerned about Mr Rooke’s health.
“I am aware that, to those outside the process, all this appears to have taken a long time to resolve. There have been some avoidable delays, but at every point we have sought to move things on as quickly as possible so that the new ministry at St John’s could proceed, and we were always confident of a positive outcome.”
The Churchwardens of Knotty Ash, Mrs Marg Juxon and Mrs Jane Owen said, “We are more than pleased that this has come to an end and we are very grateful to all who have worked to resolve this situation. We’d also like to thank the local clergy who have devoted time & care over the past 4 years at St Johns. Our numbers have grown and there is a real unity amongst us. We are all looking forward to welcoming the Rev. Roy Doran & his wife Sue.”
The bishop and patron initiated the process of appointing a new vicar to Knotty Ash as soon as Mr Rooke was declared unfit and were delighted when the Rev Doran agreed to go there. Speaking about his appointment Rev Doran revealed that Knotty Ash had been on his mind even before he was approached. “I knew it was something I had to take seriously. I strongly believe that I must go where God calls me and serve there as long as I am needed.”
Rev Doran has been vicar for 20 years at St John’s Ravenhead, where a new St John’s Centre is now a thriving expression of the church and community working together. Rev Doran sees that success as resulting from of acts of faith being rewarded by God’s blessing. His main aim is to help unlock other people’s gifts and support them in developing their own ministries. He strongly believes that people of faith can really transform communities and that he is there to give others the freedom to follow God’s call.
He also believes that it is through caring action that people will come to understand God’s message, saying; “People will not care what you know until they know that you care”. And this underpins what he wants to do at Knotty Ash. “My first aim will be to get to know the people in the congregation, to encourage them and try and discover what God wants us to do as a church.”
Rev Doran stated that he will find it a wrench leaving St John Ravenhead “it is a tremendous community with many people showing a real commitment to following Christ. But I know that this community is more than its vicar and has a strong future”