Jane arrived at the Diocese of Southwark in 1999, following her appointment as Chaplain to the then Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Tom Butler, and since that time has served the Diocese and brought her gifts to bear in the roles of Canon Chancellor and Canon Theologian as well as Director of Ministry & Training and more recently as the Archdeacon of Southwark.
How do you feel about leaving the Diocese of Southwark?
Southwark has been a fantastic Diocese in which to minister over the past 21 years. I’ve been very privileged to be part of its life in different roles and to have worked with so many great clergy and laity. I can’t but feel a wrench as my time here ends. Southwark will always have a place in my heart – and I rather suspect I will continue to be Southwark-shaped even after I have left.
What have been the high points of working here?
Oh, my goodness, too many to mention! But if I could choose one for each of the three posts I have held here, I’d say the Clergy Conference in 2004, the completion of IME for the 2006 deacons and Visitation Services while I’ve been Archdeacon.
The 2004 conference was the first one we’d had for more than 20 years and we were ready for that kind of coming together as a Diocese. The IME curates, all of them from 2006 to my last cohort in 2012, were amazing to work with, but when the 2006 group were launched, I knew we could do this.
As for Visitation Services, when Archdeacons admit Churchwardens on behalf of the Bishop, I always think that our Churchwardens are among the unsung heroes of the Church of England. It’s a real honour to admit them, and often to affirm our PCC and Deanery Synod lay members too, and to do so in the context of a Eucharist in our mother church. What could be better than coming together in God’s house with God’s people to share the foretaste of the messianic banquet?
What are you looking forward to about being Bishop of Lynn?
On a personal level, I am very much looking forward to cleaner air, open skies and long walks. But most of all, I’m looking forward to meeting the clergy and laity of the benefices and supporting their mission. I know I will learn a lot from them and I hope to be an encourager and an enabler for them as I work with the Bishop of Norwich to lead them in mission.
How long have you been a priest? Were you always been led to ministry?
I was ordained priest in 1997. I was among the first women ordinands to enter theological college knowing that, all being well, I could be ordained priest at the end of it. But other people started telling me that I should do this when I was about 13.
What is your favourite Bible verse or passage and how has it led you over the years?
We had memory verses at school, so Isaiah 35:5-7 has been with me for a long time now. It is a verse of such hope and it has always encouraged me and reminded me that, whatever the horizon might look like or the present moment be giving, God always calls us to abundance and joy.
What are you going to miss about the Diocese of Southwark?
That would have to be the people, without doubt.
What is your prayer for the people of the Diocese of Southwark?
I have found Bishop Christopher’s summary of our Southwark Vision, Christ-centred, outward-focused, as immensely helpful. So my prayer for this wonderful Diocese as I leave it, is that our parishes, people and priests can live by this and be Christ-centred and outward- focused in their lives.