Announcement of key appointments central to ‘re-imagining ministry’

The drive to ‘re-imagine ministry’ has been enhanced by the announcement today of three new appointments to the Licensed Ministries Framework. A new combined post of Diocesan Vocations Officer and Director of Ordinands is being filled by the Revd Joss Walker, and two Co-Wardens of Readers have been appointed: Revd Canon Donald Lawton and Reader, Nigel Collins.Speaking at the Bishop’s Day for Clergy, Readers and ALMs, where the announcement was made, Bishop Trevor said he was ‘delighted’ by the appointments. “Bringing her experience and gifts to this exciting dual role of DDO and Vocations Officer, Joss will play a key role in stimulating the vocational life of the Diocese.” On the appointment of Nigel and Donald, the Bishop remarked: “I am excited too by the collaborative model of ministry demonstrated by the appointment of our new Co-Wardens of Readers. Both Nigel and Donald are interesting and gifted people who will help the Diocese achieve its aims of re-imagining ministry and who will facilitate more Reader ministry in this Diocese.”

Caroline Spencer, Chair of the Licensed Ministries Framework, commented: “We chose deliberately to advertise the posts of Diocesan Vocations Officer and Director of Ordinands and Warden of Readers at the same time and to interview in the same week because they are key posts, central to our work as we re-imagine the ministry needed to take forward the mission of the Church. For the first time we will have a full time Officer responsible for all our Vocations work (including those exploring and preparing for ordination). Equally for the first time we will have not one, but two Wardens of Readers sharing the role of Warden. Donald is ordained and Nigel is a Reader, so this joint appointment will model our vision of clergy and laity working collegially together in a really exciting way. We expect that Joss, Nigel and Donald will work closely together within the life of the Framework and beyond to assist the work of Mission Action Planning across the diocese.

Joss Walker comes to the post via a curacy and hospital chaplaincy in Manchester diocese, and seven ‘very happy’ years at St Martin’s Maidstone. Over the last two and a half years Joss has been part of the Assistant DDO team and more recently fulfilled the role of part time Acting DDO.

Joss commented:  “I’m now looking forward to continuing that work, excited that alongside it comes the challenge of developing Diocesan strategy for recognising and engaging with vocations. This is a critical gateway for everybody in the Church who is thinking about where God might be calling them to serve and follow Him and how to take that calling out into the world. I like how Barbara Brown Taylor says it; ‘If the Church is where we learn who and whose we are, the world is where we are called to put that knowledge to use.’”

Nigel Collins, a Reader of 16 years, is the lay minister of Cross-Links, an ecumenical Fresh Expression in Dover.  Before joining Cross-Links, he served in the Army for 24 years reaching the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major); he completed Reader training whilst in the forces.

Nigel commented: “I am excited and privileged to have been appointed to this re-imagined role within the Licensed Ministries Framework.  I look forward to working with Donald to encourage and enthuse Readers and those exploring vocation; I believe that together we will be exemplars of good collaborative practice.”

The Revd Canon Donald J. Lawton started his ministry as a Lay Reader in the Diocese of Quebec while teaching school in an isolated mining town and then in a construction camp in the bush.  He has had a varied ministry as a missionary priest in the Yukon, as a chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces and with the Mission to Seafarers, and as a parish priest in two dioceses in Canada. Donald, who says he is ‘greatly looking forward to working as Co-Warden’, believes in the shared team ministry of Readers, ALMs and priests working together, a team ministry concept he first introduced in to his parish in the Diocese of Toronto nearly twenty years ago.


Further information from:

Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446,