Our former Archdeacon, Christine Froude, literally did the work of two people. The diocese has recognised this and has appointed two people to replace her! The new Archdeacon at the Bristol end of the Diocese has been named as Revd Neil Warwick. He is currently the vicar of Earley in Reading but will be arriving in the summer.

The person whom we will soon get to know as “our” Archdeacon is the Ven. Christopher Bryan. He was installed as Archdeacon of Malmesbury in Bristol Cathedral on Tuesday. Christopher is currently leading a group of eight rural parishes in Gauzebrook Benefice near Malmesbury and has for several years, since moving from Lechlade Parish Church. He has also worked on a large council estate in Manchester.

What does an archdeacon do?

  • He works closely with the Bishop as a ’critical friend’.
  • He is there to offer pastoral care and support to clergy and their families.
  • He will help to develop and implement strategy for mission in the diocese.
  • He is a member of the Bishop’s Staff and contributes in that role to the development of Diocesan Policies and procedures.
  • He plays an important role during vacancies helping parishes find a new vicar.
  • He has responsibility for buildings and property.

The office is used to be known as oculus episcopi, or the “Bishop’s Eye”. In secular terms, they are the nearest thing clergy have to a line manager. Archdeacons tend to have a good idea of what is happening on the ground. For fans of the sitcom Rev. we ought to clarify that they don’t wear black gloves, pour mugs of instant coffee straight down the sink or ride round in the back of black taxis.

If you have been with us for some time, you will remember our former archdeacon, The Ven Alan Hawker. Alan had a superb grasp of the legal side of church life and was an excellent administrator. He led house parties for us and preached regularly. He was a gifted Bible teacher and spiritual leader.

So, it is a wide ranging role. Let’s pray for our two Archdeacons, that God will continue to build his church under their guidance and leadership.