The Diocese of Canterbury
Canterbury Diocese moves forward
The Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott has today announced two new appointments which will strengthen the support provided for churches in the diocese. The Reverend Canon Stephen Taylor MBE has been announced as the new Archdeacon of Maidstone and the Reverend Canon Kerry Thorpe has been announced as the new Mission and Growth Adviser.
New Archdeacon of Maidstone
Stephen, who describes his current ministry as 'mainly outward facing' and who has chaired the Sunderland Local Partnership since 2006, will also play a key role in the 'Communities and Partnership' framework of Canterbury Diocese.
Describing the role of Archdeacon of Maidstone as 'very special', Stephen commented: "I am hugely looking forward to working in Canterbury Diocese at this exciting time. I look forward to working with the deaneries in the Archdeaconry, supporting, encouraging and enabling them to grow the Kingdom of God in this part of Kent. I am also excited about my role in the Communities and Partnership network, as this style of being church is one that positively contributes to transformational change for community and church."
Bishop Trevor said of his appointment: "I am delighted Stephen has accepted my invitation to be the next Archdeacon of Maidstone. With twenty five years of ministry in rural, semi-rural and urban settings, a strong track record of working strategically with local authorities and third sector organizations, Stephen brings many gifts, experience and real passion to this role. I know Stephen will provide excellent support to the deaneries of Maidstone, North Downs, Ospringe, Sittingbourne, The Weald, Tenterden and Romney and through his work with Communities and Partnership will help the diocese focus its commitment to mission in social welfare and social justice."
The appointment of Canon Stephen Taylor follows the restructuring of the diocese and the creation of a new third archdeaconry in the diocese. The move by the Venerable Philip Down to become the first Archdeacon of the new Ashford Archdeaconry, created the vacancy in the Maidstone Archdeaconry.
Stephen attributes the start of his Christian journey to his attendance at Sunday School in the open evangelical church of St Peter's Shipley, the church where he later became confirmed and where he married his wife Julie, a Senior Educational Psychologist. Stephen and Julie have three grown up daughters and two grandsons.
After training at Cranmer Hall, Durham, Stephen served his curacy at St Mary and St Cuthbert at Chester le Street, before becoming incumbent at St Matthews, Newbottle in Durham Diocese. Between 1983 and 2000, Stephen was the vicar of All Saints Stranton, Hartlepool, a town centre church with a church plant and youth work team; during this time Stephen acted as a training incumbent.
In 2000 Stephen moved to Sunderland where he worked with the local community to make the church accessible and relevant to the people of Sunderland by creating the Urban Minster in the city. Over recent years Stephen has led an ordained team including a University Chaplain, Industrial Chaplain and Minster Chaplain. Since 2006, Stephen has chaired the Sunderland Local Partnership working strategically with among others the City Council, Primary Care Trust, Chamber of Commerce and Voluntary Sector Organisations. Stephen, who sat on General Synod between 2000 and 2005, was also the Chair of the working group of 'Church and Society' for Durham and Newcastle Dioceses from 2005-2006. Over the last ten years, Stephen has taken the lead in various initiatives in Sunderland including making it a 'Fair-Trade City' and establishing a 'Faith in Communities' programme to help churches and other partners work together especially for the support of the most vulnerable.
The Chair of the Communities and Partnership Network, Anthony Beattie, said: "I am thrilled to bits. Stephen will play a leadership role in our work with local churches as together we seek to transform community and parish life. He brings unparalleled experience and wisdom to the core team and I much look forward to having him with us."
Outside work Stephen and Julie enjoy cycling, exploring Scotland in their small motor cruiser and taking holidays in the Isles of Scilly with their children and grandchildren.
Stephen will be welcomed and collated as the Archdeacon of Maidstone at a special service on Sunday 18 September at Canterbury Cathedral.
Mission and Growth Adviser
Bishop Trevor commented on the appointment: "Though known more recently for his work in Fresh Expressions of church, Kerry is highly experienced in all dimensions of the mixed economy of church. I am delighted he has accepted this key appointment."
Chair of Local Church Development, Ms Judith Rigby said: "Kerry stood out during the rigorous interview process as the candidate who has the experience, enthusiasm and skills to help inspire and enable groups, churches and deaneries to make progress on their chosen pathway of mission and growth."
Kerry, who will move with his wife Eunice to Canterbury, will take up his new appointment later this summer.
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