Dean Of Estates Ministry Appointed

The Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, is initiating a new Diocesan role: Dean of Estates Ministry. He has invited The Revd Canon Gary Jenkins, Vicar of St James and St Anne, Bermondsey, and Area Dean of Rotherhithe and Bermondsey Deanery, to take up the appointment in January 2023.

Bishop Christopher said,

The Diocese of Southwark has the second highest number of estate parishes in the Church of England. These are defined as any parish that has more than five hundred units of social housing. My hope, in line with the encouragement of the National Church, is to energise missional presence and engagement, sharing the Gospel and serving the people on estates in line with the vision around which the Diocese was created. I am delighted that Canon Gary Jenkins has accepted my invitation to take up this role which will build on his experience as Diocesan lead on Estates Ministry, about which he is passionate, and I commend him to everyone’s prayers and support.

Estates Ministry in the Diocese of Southwark goes as far back as the 1930s when the Diocese built 25 new churches, many on estates, as part of the Twenty-Five Churches Project.

Canon Gary Jenkins said,

I am delighted to have been appointed the first Dean of Estates Ministry. The Church has always been present on our estates. We have never been absent. There are some very large estate parishes at New Addington, St Helier, Downham, Roehampton and Thamesmead and other places, plus parishes with very significant levels of social housing, spread over several estates in many parts of the Diocese. Back in the 1980’s we had the ‘Faith in the City’ report and then four years ago, there was a major debate at General Synod about a strategy for evangelism on estates. This is something we need to keep coming back to and we are in a season where the Church is renewing its concern for our people in these communities. Estates are also often isolated and physically separate from their communities and sometimes there can be an aspect of stigma attached to the estate and that’s why a loving Christian presence among estate communities is so important.

Gary continued,

I will now be working full-time helping to share good practice on Estates Ministry, researching key issues for mission on estates, visiting and encouraging estates and drawing together practitioners – people who are engaged in estates ministry. I will also advise and assist parishes that are wanting to develop this area of ministry. The intention is that I will be an advocate for Estates Ministry. I want everyone to be concerned about it and this role will, I hope, bear lasting fruit.

Diocesan Director of Pioneering Ministry and Dean of Fresh Expressions, The Revd Canon Will Cookson, said, “This is great news and I am delighted to welcome Gary into our team. Gary has always had a passion for estates ministry and I look forward to his bringing this passion to help our estates churches throughout the Diocese. There is much to be done in the next few years as we develop our support for our estates through advocacy, sharing best practice and developing our estates lay pioneers pathway. I know that Gary will bring much wisdom and insight to all of this.”

This innovative post is integral to Southwark Vision. The Diocesan Secretary, Ruth Martin, has confirmed that it is funded through the Diocesan Southwark Vision Development Fund and, in particular, through the generosity of the Diocese’s largest grant giver, Trust For London.

Gary’s last day at St James and St Anne will be on Sunday, 4 December – the tenth anniversary from when he was instituted as Vicar.

Curriculum Vitae

Education

1970-77 Sir Walter St John’s School, Battersea

1977-81 University of York

1986-89 Oak Hill Theological College, London

2007-2010 Spurgeon’s College, London (part-time)

Qualifications

1977 GCE A Level: Physical Science; Biology; Mathematics

1980 BA Biology (York) 2 (1)

1981 PGCE (York)

1989 BA Theological and Pastoral Studies (CNAA) (with Distinction)

2010 MTh Preaching (Wales) (with Distinction)

Employment

Science Teacher Ernest Bevin Comprehensive School, Tooting, 1981-86

Administrator St James Church, West Streatham 1985-86 (part-time)

Curate St Luke’s Church, West Norwood 1989-94

Vicar St Peter’s Church, St Helier, Morden, 1994-2001

Vicar Holy Trinity, Redhill 2001-2012

Honorary Canon Southwark Cathedral, 2006-

Vicar St James and St Anne’s, Bermondsey, 2012-

Examining Chaplain 2015-

Area Dean Reigate, 2012; Bermondsey 2018-

Ordination Southwark Cathedral, 1989 (deacon)

                                     Holy Trinity, Clapham, 1990 (priest)

Committee & other posts held

Southwark IME course, Tutor, 2006-

Church Pastoral Aid Society Patronage Trusts, member 2007-, vice-chair, 2013-2019; Chair 2020-

General Synod of the Church of England, Proctor in Convocation, 2010-2021

Southwark Diocesan Evangelical Union, chair 2001-2004, 2007-2018

Southwark Diocesan Synod, member 1998-2000, 2001-2021

St Augustine’s College of Theology, Member of Council 2014-2021

Southwark Diocesan Focal Lead for Estates Ministry, 2019-

Written by: Sophia Jones

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