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Retirement of Archdeacon Robert

Published: 27th September 2023

Archdeacon Robert in front of the river AvonThe Archdeacon of Worcester, Robert Jones will retire on 30 November. It will be 43 years since his ordination in Worcester Cathedral with 17 of those years in diocesan ministry & the previous 26 in parishes in Kidderminster, Dudley and Worcester. There will be a chance to say goodbye & thank you to Robert at Evensong in the Cathedral at 4pm on 19 November.

He said: “I’m retiring with very mixed feelings. I won’t miss all the meetings and am looking forward to having a rest, but I have loved all my different roles within the Diocese and it will be very strange not to be directly involved with everything.”

Robert was a curate in Kidderminster before taking on his first parish at St Francis’ in Dudley and then becoming vicar of St Barnabas in Worcester. “I loved the excitement of my first parish,” he said. “At both St Francis and St Barnabas, I was very much the parish priest for the whole community. Although the Church obviously has to change and develop, serving in local communities is still our calling. Although it may not always feel like it, in many deprived areas the church still counts for people – it is ‘their church’ and ‘their vicar’. Being in the business of loving kindness doesn’t change.”

Robert Jones is licensed as Archdeacon by Bishop JohnIn 2006 Robert became Director of Development for the Diocese and was asked by Bishop John to become the Archdeacon in Worcester in 2014. “I’ve really enjoyed being Archdeacon. I hadn’t worked in rural parishes until moving into diocesan ministry and I’ve been amazed and inspired by the resilience of small groups of people. In many villages and towns the Church definitely punches above its weight. Being Archdeacon has felt the right place to be and I believe I’ve had a contribution to make that I didn’t necessarily think I would; helping to ensure the transformation and change programme is understood by more people.”

Robert also spent 10 years as a General Synod rep, has built links with the Roman Catholic Church with joint pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Rome and heads up the diocesan link with the Evangelische Kirche in Mitteldeutschland (EKM in Germany).

Robert Jones standing with Father Brian, RC Priest in Worcester“I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do lots of things which have interested me outside of the Diocese, which helped give me a bigger picture,” said Robert. “Being on General Synod felt like a real calling and was a good lesson in how a divided church can still find common ground. Through my links with Germany I was part of the national church’s Meissen Commission and I have been involved in developing liturgy with USPG which led to me helping lead worship at two different Lambeth Conferences.”

Rob and his partner Mike will be staying in the Diocese in retirement. “Worcester has been a good place to be, and we have both spent our whole lives here. It will be exciting to be living in our own house for the first time! I am looking forward to a bit of time off and finding out what the next chapter might hold. I feel very fortunate in what I have been able to do throughout my ministry so far. It has been a far wider experience than I expected or looked for. There have been challenges, but also lots of laughter and joy along the way.”Mark Badger and Robert Jones

“I am also excited about the choice of the new Archdeacon of Worcester. Mark will bring a new energy and vitality to the role, and I know he will continue to champion open, welcoming parish churches who recognise the face of Jesus in all that they meet. I firmly believe that where the ordinary is, is where our extraordinary God will be. Our job as Christians is to love people into life as Jesus did.”

Archdeacon Robert officially retires on 30 November but will finish most public ministry on 30 October. His farewell service is at 4pm on Sunday 19 November in Worcester Cathedral.

Page last updated: Wednesday 27th September 2023 3:06 PM

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