New Bishop of Tonbridge Announced

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Simon Burton-Jones to be the next Suffragan Bishop of Tonbridge in the Diocese of Rochester, 10 Downing Street has announced. He currently serves as Archdeacon of Rochester and Canon Residentiary at Rochester Cathedral.

As Bishop of Tonbridge, Simon will focus on evangelism and growth. This aspiration and intention to grow is rooted in “Called Together”, the Diocese of Rochester’s vision. He will also have 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 will chair the Diocesan Board of Education, supporting the work of the 89 Church of England schools within the Diocese.

Please see a video message from the New Bishop of Tonbridge here

The Bishop of Rochester Rt Rev James Langstaff said “I am delighted that Simon Burton-Jones has been appointed as the next Bishop of Tonbridge. He is a thoughtful theologian and gifted communicator. As Archdeacon of Rochester he has supported the mission of the Church in some of Kent and Medway’s most deprived communities, and steered the development of valuable new work in Chatham and Ebbsfleet.”

Archdeacon of Bromley & Bexley, The Ven Paul Wright commented “When I was appointed Archdeacon, Simon was a parish priest in Bromley.  He then became an Area Dean and then the Archdeacon of Rochester.  Over these last 15 years I have worked with Simon on a number of projects and dealt with all sorts of issues.  We have also had the opportunity to socialise and share the odd pint! Therefore with these experiences I can honestly say that he will make a first-rate Bishop of Tonbridge.  His humour, drive and commitment to the Gospel, together with his passion for people, make him ideally suited to a post such as this.”

Archdeacon of Tonbridge, The Ven Julie Conalty added “I am delighted about Simon’s appointment as Bishop of Tonbridge and he will bring an impressive array of skills and gifts to the role – not least his encyclopaedic knowledge of The Simpsons.”

Speaking of his new role, Simon said: “We are living in an era of extraordinary, almost unprecedented, change. What we need to develop as a Church is this sense that God is before us, and we can have trust and confidence in Him to face these challenges together. Understanding how we do discipleship, following Jesus, I think is one of the most exciting challenges that we face, that’s one I’m really looking forward to sharing with people.”

Simon continued “I am excited to be able to serve others as Bishop of Tonbridge.  Originally from Lancashire, Kent has been my adopted county for over twenty years and we have brought our children up here.  Having received so much from its people, I can continue to give something back and contribute to the well-being of its different communities.” 

The date of his consecration in London is July 3, 2018 – 25 years to the day since Simon was ordained Deacon in the Church of England. Simon will be consecrated alongside the Venerable Dr John Perumbalath as the sixth Bishop of Bradwell in Essex; John previously served in the Diocese of Rochester from 2002-2013. Chelmsford Announcement

Simon Burton-Jones will be the seventh Bishop of Tonbridge , and succeeds Rt Rev Brian Castle, who retired in 2015. The Bishop of Tonbridge is the sole suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Rochester. The bishop shares in the oversight of the missionary and pastoral life of the Diocese within a framework set out by an Instrument of Delegation from the Diocesan Bishop, to whom the Bishop of Tonbridge is responsible and accountable. The bishop will exercise ministry in collaboration with the Diocesan Bishop, the Archdeacons and other members of the Bishop’s Leadership Team.

Simon studied Law and worked as a researcher and political campaigner before ordination. He trained for the priesthood at St John’s College, Nottingham, and has served churches in East Lancashire and across the Diocese of Rochester before becoming Archdeacon in 2010.

Simon was ordained as Deacon in the Diocese of Blackburn in 1993, and as Priest in 1994. He was Team Curate at St Peter, Darwen and St Paul, Hoddlesden, Diocese of Blackburn (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 –present).

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