Archdeacon Roger reflects on his ministry in the Diocese of Liverpool

First published on: 8th August 2019

Looking back over your ministry in the Diocese of Liverpool, what changes have you seen?

My favourite part of being Archdeacon has been working with parishes through the vacancy process, and helping them think through what they are hoping for in terms of development. Then trying to see if I can find some great people who are willing to test their calling and put in an application. Seeing the new priest arrive in a parish or team and be really happy to be called there and seeing the joy for the PCC in starting to work well with their new incumbent is a great outcome - and I have been so pleased to see the vacancy process work well in many cases.

It has been good to see Churches respond to the Bishop's Rule of Life in lots of different ways and recognise that encouraging every Christian to deepen and strengthen their faith practically is really worth investing in. Also although people might be a bit cynical about diocesan vision statements - churches that really take growth seriously and service to their community (bigger difference) tend to be healthier and have a much greater chance for spiritual and numerical growth.

The Bishops in Mission was also a great catalyst for some really creative ways of making new connections in local communities that many churches were encouraged by. I would certainly recommend a mini mission every year to keep the impetus going.

How have you made an impact?

The work over a year for a team of us to create the vision for the Resource Church Network - and to see the Church Commissioners willing to make £1.9m available over a five year period to invest in new sorts of mission/church development in St Helens, Warrington and Widnes was an exciting project to be part of. Seeing a brand new congregation launched in Warrington, the revitalisation of St Pauls and St Johns in Widnes and a great effort to try and create something new in St Helens was really pleasing. However all new initiatives, have risks associated and some parts of the project have not gone to plan at all, and it has been really hard for some people on the ground. Bishop Paul's encouragement that it is really worth trying new things, recognising that we will make mistakes and it is OK if things don't work out to learn from the experience, adapt and try again has been encouraging.

What will you take away from your time in the Diocese?

The privilege of working with some inspirational and dedicated priests and lay leaders who day by day and week by week are being faithful to encourage church life across the diocese.

I still don't quite understand the obsession with football and Rugby League in spite of many people's efforts to convert me to Liverpool LFC or Warrington Wolves.

A real treat has been to be a part of the amazingness that is our cathedral. It has always been a wonder to me how many incredible things take place there and I have many happy memories of worship and celebration. The level of creativity and welcome is quite astonishing.

What advice would you give to the person/people who is/are going to look after the Archdeaconry of St Helens, Widnes and Warrington?

These are three very different towns with their own story and way of being - don't ever confuse them!

Continue to encourage the working together of parishes, teams and Deaneries - the more resources that can be shared, the more people's skills can be used more broadly - the better

Recognise that change takes time, but allowing for time, positive change can and is happening. Just keep encouraging it!


Bishops Comments

Bishop Paul writes:
"It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside Roger in the leadership of the Diocese. He is a real difference-maker. Archbishop George Carey used to say, “Everyone’s in favour of change - as long as it doesn’t make any difference”. That has never been Roger’s way. But in his years with us he has sought first and foremost to build relationships and to act as a pastor and mentor to the leaders of the churches in his area. And alongside this he has pioneered and guided some new, challenging and exciting initiatives. I have known Roger since we were together in the University Chaplaincy community in London in the 1980s - he as a young student, I as a slightly-older chaplain. The great potential he showed then has been realised here, and will be realised still more fully in his new role in Limehouse. I thank God for him and for all he has done here, and I ask God to bless him and Catherine on their way to new beginnings!"

Bishop Bev said:

"I am deeply grateful to Roger for the work he has been engaged in across the St Helens and Warrington Archdeaconry.  He has been dealing with particularly complex projects as we have been exploring new models for mission.  I give thanks for his commitment, tireless grace and zeal.  We shall miss him and Catherine but wish them happiness as Roger takes up this new role.
They go with our love and all blessings."


Could you be the next Archdeacon?

Archdeacon of St Helens and Warrington

The Archdeacon of St Helens of Warrington is one of four Archdeacons in the Diocese of Liverpool. Working together, alongside senior staff, laity and clergy in their area, they are to be leaders in mission and enablers of change within the community of the church.

Closing Date: 10am on 23rd September 2019
Interview Date: Tuesday 1st October 2019

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