Leadership

Leadership

We have a senior leadership team of senior clergy and lay officers who have oversight and leadership in the Diocese.

The Diocese of Rochester is served by the Bishop of Rochester who is assisted by the Bishop of Tonbridge. The Diocese is divided up into three areas called, Archdeaconries, each of which is led by an Archdeacon.

The Archdeacons are a source of advice, guidance and support to the bishops, clergy, churchwardens and the people of the parishes. They help with the appointment of parish clergy and sit on the key committees of the Diocese. They do not have their own parish but travel around the very many parishes of their Archdeaconry.

The Diocesan Secretary is the lead officer within the Diocesan administrative structure to help serve the parishes and people of the Diocese.

You can find out more about our senior leadership team below.

Bishops
Bishop of Rochester - vacant

We are currently seeking a new Bishop of Rochester following the retirement of Bishop James Langstaff in July 2021. The process to find a new bishop is called the Vacancy in See process. This is currently underway and we expect a new Bishop of Rochester to be appointed in 2022.

Until that time, the Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones is taking on the responsibilities of the diocesan bishop.

Bishop of Tonbridge
The Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones is the Bishop of Tonbridge. Simon is the seventh Bishop of Tonbridge, having been consecrated at St Paul’s Cathedral exactly twenty-five years to the day since being ordained for the first time. Simon was born and brought up in Fleetwood, Lancashire, studied law at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and worked as a researcher and political campaigner before ordination.

He trained at St John’s College, Nottingham and was ordained as Deacon in the Diocese of Blackburn in 1993, becoming Team Curate at St Peter, Darwen and St Paul, Hoddlesden (1993-96) and has served in the Diocese of Rochester as Curate of St Mark, Biggin Hill (1996-98), Priest in Charge and then Vicar of St Mary, Bromley (1998-2005), Area Dean of Bromley (2001-2006), and Rector of St Nicholas, Chislehurst (2005-2010) before being appointed Archdeacon of Rochester (2010 – 2018).

As Bishop of Tonbridge, he focuses on evangelism and growth, rooted in Called Together, the Diocese of Rochester’s vision. He also has oversight and leadership of the education, youth and children, and community engagement work of churches across the Diocese of Rochester. In relation to education, he chairs the Diocesan Board of Education, supporting the work of the 89 Church of England schools within the Diocese.

His role will be to provide leadership, ideas and insight for the diocese as it pursues the vision embodied in Called Together.  Helping people to express their faith openly and kindly, and thinking through what it means to be disciples of Christ in today’s complex and volatile world will be an important component of this role – keeping the Church especially mindful of the challenges of children and young people growing up within it.

Simon is married to Julia and they have two children, Tim and Helena and a daughter in law, Aislinn.  He is a lover of contemporary literature, indie cinema, theatre, rock music – notably U2 – and lots of sports, greedily supporting three football teams in Fleetwood, Blackpool and Liverpool.  He was an early adopter of TV’s The West Wing and wishes he could have worked in the Bartlet administration – or at least have every conversation of his scripted by Aaron Sorkin. 

He has spent far too much of his life watching The Simpsons and his only real achievement has been to get a quote in an all-time book of cricket quotations.  However, he piggybacks on the recent revelation that one of his ancestors baptised William Shakespeare.  Some people say he has a lovely voice, which is a polite way of saying he has a face for the radio.

Archdeacons
Archdeacon of Bromley and Bexley, the Venerable Paul Wright

Paul has been in post since December 2003. He announced his retirement in 2021 and will commence his retirement in March 2022.

Archdeacon of Rochester, the Venerable Andy Wooding Jones

Ordained in 1991, Andy served in parochial roles in Welling and Sheffield before being Resident Director of Ashburnham Place from 2000 to 2012.  He then moved to Birmingham for two years, where he was Chief Executive of the World Prayer Centre, living as part of the Lee Abbey Small Missional Community in Aston. 

During this time he also assisted at Aston Parish Church and with the Birmingham Diocesan ‘Transforming Church’ programme.

Andy has wide experience of organisational and project management in a Christian context, skills which he has been using in local and national consultancy roles since 2014.  This has included managing the establishment of the St Benedict’s Centre at Malling Abbey and giving consultancy support to the Lee Abbey movement.  For a time Andy has also acted as Interim Co-ordinator for IME2 and CMD in our diocese.

Andy began his ministry as Archdeacon of Rochester in September 2018.

 

Archdeacon of Tonbridge - currently vacant

The post of Archdeacon of Tonbridge is currently vacant following the consecration of the former Archdeacon, the Ven Julie Conalty, as the new Bishop of Birkenhead in the Diocese of Chester in July 2021.

For matters which would have been addressed specifically to the Archdeacon of Tonbridge, please be in touch, as appropriate, with the Area Dean or with one of the other two Archdeacons as follows:

  • Archdeacon Paul Wright  for the deaneries of Malling, Sevenoaks and Shoreham;
  • Archdeacon Andy Wooding Jones  or the deaneries of Paddock Wood, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

Both archdeacons are supported by Fiona Porter who can best be contacted at fiona.porter@rochester.anglican.org

Diocesan Secretary

Diocesan Secretary

Matthew Girt is the Diocesan Secretary - a role rather like a chief executive - and has been in post since 2019. 

Matthew first joined the Diocese in December 2014. As Director of Strategy & Implementation and has led and coordinated major capital projects and strategic developments within the Diocese, particularly around Called Together.

He is a member of the Bishops Leadership Team and has been in role since the beginning of September 2019, prior to that as Acting Diocesan Secretary since the end of May 2019.

Matthew has a background in government, town planning and major regeneration projects, and was previous to his role in Rochester part of the Senior Management Team at the Diocese of London leading on the churches response to new housing areas and the building of its first new church in a new place for over 40 years.

 

Full contact details for the Bishop's office, the Diocesan Office, and other Diocesan staff can be found at Contact Us