Archdeacon Paddy to retire
The Archdeacon of Hereford, Paddy Benson, will be retiring at the end of August 2018.
The early announcement is to allow for a smooth process of finding and appointing his successor.
Paddy came to Hereford in 2011, after serving as a vicar on Merseyside.
He has been an active contributor to our partnership with Tanzania: he speaks Swahili, which he learned during his time as a missionary in Kenya.
As well as the specific responsibilities of being an archdeacon, Paddy has taken an active interest in the forming of a Community Land Trust, which is being set up to help tackle the lack of affordable housing in our diocese.
The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Richard Frith commented on the announcement: “All of us in the diocese have reason to be thankful to Paddy for his ministry.
“He is passionate about the Christian good news, warmly pastoral in his dealings with others, immensely hard working and a very gifted communicator of the Christian faith.
“We shall miss him greatly, but he'll still have a lot to offer us over the coming year.”
Archdeacon Paddy has also been central to cultural work and involvement with the arts in the diocese, supporting the recent bid for Hereford City of Culture bid as a member of the Hereford Cultural Partnership.
Archdeacon Paddy said: “Coming to Hereford, I joined the diocese with the highest proportion of church members in England.
“Congregations are small only because our communities are tiny.
“I have enjoyed serving a church which makes the weather in society.
“The challenge for an archdeacon is to ensure that a bureaucratic job is Gospel-centred and Spirit-led.
“The task includes helping benefices to find a new incumbent when the last vicar leaves; and also encouraging parishes which face building projects costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
An appointments process will begin in October, which will include consultation with people across the diocese and the drawing up of a small advisory group to work with Bishop Richard and his Chaplain, Preb Brian Chave.
Interviews will be held in early April 2018 with the appointment resting with Bishop Richard.
After retiring, Archdeacon Paddy and his wife Eleanor plan to move to Leeds to be near one of their children. “Our daughter asked us to join her church,” Paddy said. “She said, ‘Mum and Dad, we need some old people in the congregation’.”