Archdeacon Simon to stand down
Tributes have been paid to the Archdeacon of Lichfield after he announced he will step down to devote his time to parish ministry.
The Venerable Simon Baker became Archdeacon of Lichfield in July 2013 and carries out the role alongside his position as Rector of St Michael’s Lichfield and St John’s Wall.
He announced this week that he will step down on 31 May to devote himself to his Rector role full-time after his parish colleague, the Revd Linda Collins, announced she intended to retire in March.
The Archdeacon of Lichfield is one of two – the other being the Archdeacon of Walsall - in the Wolverhampton episcopal area, with specific responsibility for pastoral care for clergy in places including Lichfield, Tamworth and Cannock.
Simon said: “Retiring from the Archdeaconry at the end of May means that I will be able to conduct the round of Archdeacon’s Visitations and say farewell and thank you to the clergy and churchwardens. I will miss my Diocesan role and responsibilities (though I may retain a few), and I will miss working with Diocesan colleagues, Bishops and my fellow Archdeacons.
“This is a positive choice and something I am looking forward to with renewed energy. There is a great deal going on in the benefice, with much more to do and wonderful people to work with and minister alongside. I became a vicar for the first time in 1985 and it seems a fitting way to spend the last years of my ministry as a parish priest once again.”
The Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Rt Revd Clive Gregory, said: “Archdeacon Simon has brought a wonderful mix of wisdom, experience, energy and humour to the role and the Archdeaconry has been hugely blessed through his ministry. I will greatly miss his collegiality as a senior colleague but am thrilled he will be continuing his wonderfully fruitful ministry as Rector of St Michael’s and St John’s.”
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, added: “I have greatly appreciated Simon’s insight, energy and care as archdeacon, his wide and deep knowledge of the Church of England and its law, and his unstinting support of parishes and clergy at local level. I am delighted that he will be continuing in his much valued parish ministry at St Michael’s and St John’s and so will still be in a position to contribute to the common life and mission of the diocese.”
An announcement about Simon’s successor as Archdeacon of Lichfield will be made in due course.