Archdeacon of Tonbridge

Rev Canon Julie Conalty

Will be collated as the Archdeacon of Tonbridge on the 24 September 2017

Welcome to the Archdeaconry of Tonbridge which covers West Kent from Burham and Wouldham (just south of Rochester) westwards to beyond Westerham and Edenbridge, down to Tunbridge Wells and further south to Lamberhurst and Matfield, before coming eastward again through Yalding, Hunton, Coxheath and Barming on the western edge of Maidstone

There are over 100 churches in the Archdeaconry, some of which are in the commuter towns of Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells and many of which are in villages and smaller communities scattered across this, the most rural Archdeaconry in the Rochester Diocese.

Christian faith and worship have been here for a long time. The earliest domestic evidence for Christianity in Britain was found in a Roman villa in Lullingstone. Some of our churches have stories going back across a thousand years or more. Many churches also have very contemporary facilities so as to enable them to better fulfil their role in our current society. Some parts of the Archdeaconry are also settings for major housing developments, eg, Kings Hill, near West Malling, where there is a congregation, but no church building. There are many Church Schools in the Archdeaconry amidst the wider provision of education, both state and private; - these include the Bennett Memorial Diocesan School in Tunbridge Wells.

The Archdeaconry area is also filled with historic buildings, eg, Chartwell, Hever Castle, Ightham Mote and Knole. It also has wide-ranging sporting and cultural activities and excellent road and rail communications, making it an attractive place for many in which to reside, whilst they commute to work in London or elsewhere.

The Archdeaconry is home to the Benedictine convent community at West Malling Abbey, the Pilsdon at Malling Community (which works with wayfarers and others recovering from addictions) and the Burrswood Christian Hospital.

Julie first experienced a call to ordained ministry in her teens. After a Biblical Studies degree, as women could not become priests, the question was ‘what to do next?’. So she worked with the homeless and then began a career in the Probation Service.

Eventually, Julie trained for ordination with the South East Institute of Theological Education, was ordained deacon in 1999 and priest in 2000. Her training parish was in Southwark Diocese and she was initially self-supporting while continuing her secular work – by then a management role in London Probation Area. Subsequently, she worked for the Youth Justice Board before becoming National Manager of a resettlement project and then a Service Manager for a Local Authority. She also founded a consultancy partnership and somewhere amidst all of that found the time to study for an MA in Applied Theology.

In 2010, Julie bit the bullet and transferred to Stipendiary Ministry, giving up her ‘day job’ and taking up a post in a newly formed United Benefice in south east London.

Julie came to Rochester Diocese in 2012. She was vicar of Christ Church, Erith, the Bishop’s Advisor for the Ministry of Ordained Women and Area Dean of Erith.

She is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England.

Other useful information:

There are 6 Deaneries in the Archdeaconry:

Rural Dean — The Rev Matthew Buchan

Paddock Wood
Rural Dean — The Rev Canon Bryan Knapp

Rural Dean  — The Rev Martin Booth

Rural Dean — Tim Hatwell

Rural Dean — The Rev Mark Brown

Tunbridge Wells
Rural Dean — The Rev Canon Jim Stewart

The Archdeaconry Convenor for Self-Supporting Ministers: 
The Rev Sarah Partridge

Warden of Lay Ministry: 
Karen Senior

Archdeaconry Deputy Wardens of Lay Ministry:
Miss Jackie Bennett

Mr Nigel Daly


PA to Archdeacon of Tonbridge
Maria Campbell
Archdeacon’s Secretary (Mon morning, Wed–Fri mornings)
Tel: 01892 520660

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