Coming all the way from our link diocese Virginia, Jennifer brings a strong background in ministry development, pastoral care, conflict resolution and adaptive use of building space. She has served on bishops Task Forces for Affordable Housing and Congregational Development and actively advocates for broadening lay leadership and ministry. She is also a tireless advocate for improved services to those living with mental illness.
Why do you feel called to this role?
I must admit that when I was first told about this position becoming available, I hesitated for quite some time before finally deciding to apply. In the US Episcopal Church there really is no equivalent to an Archdeacon in xthe Church of England, so I had to do a quick study and some real soul-searching.
The more I learned, the more I came to believe that everything I had done in ministry—both lay and ordained—up to this point had been preparing me for this role. That realization has been affirmed many times over in the last few weeks and I am both delighted and humbled to have been called to
serve the Diocese of Liverpool in this capacity.
What are you first priorities?
Of course there is a great deal to do in preparation for my move from the US to the UK. Besides all of the temporal concerns, I am meeting with my spiritual director and going on retreat to prepare spiritually for this move.
Once I’m settled into my new home and am “boots on the ground” in the Wigan and West Lancashire area, my top priorities will be to meet and get to know the clergy and lay leadership of the parishes,
churches, and ministries in my care.
The role of Archdeacon as Bishop Paul envisions it is a highly relational one—and so building those relationships in order to establish trust and a good mutual working relationship will be key. Also important will be learning all of the ins and outs of being an Archdeacon—the canons, the traditions, and the expectations I have yet to learn.
What are your impressions of our diocese?
I am fortunate to have visited The Diocese of Liverpool three times over the past five years because of the twinning relationship with The Diocese of Virginia; and I also have been delighted to meet and host some members of this diocese in my home in Virginia.
During that time I have had a growing positive impression and do believe that Liverpool is leading the way for all of us in terms of Evangelism, Growth, and Health of the Church. The biggest challenges are A-B-C: Ageing Money, Broken Buildings, and Clergy Retiring. Naming those challenges is key to tackling them; however, the bigger challenge is always ‘the unknown.’ I trust God to lead us through whatever may come, so If we aspire to listen and look for the Holy Spirit’s leading, then I am confident that we shall meet challenges known and unknown head on and successfully accomplish all that God has purposed for us to do.