A new chapter for Archdeacon of Rochester

First published on: 22nd April 2024

Archdeacon Andy Wooding-Jones

After much thought and prayerful consideration, Archdeacon Andy has decided to move on from his role as Archdeacon of Rochester later this year to explore new opportunities.

Andy and Margaret will be moving to Sheffield, where they ministered previously and where their daughter and her family live. Andy will be taking a break from ministry for a time before deciding what opportunities he may wish to explore in Sheffield and

In sharing the news, Bishop Jonathan Gibbs, the Bishop of Rochester said:

"This will be a sad loss for me personally and for the Diocese of Rochester. Andy has played an invaluable part in steering the Diocese through a time of great upheaval and change, including during the COVID-19 pandemic and the vacancy in see.

"He has also done a huge amount to support clergy and lay people throughout the Archdeaconry of Rochester through his wise and tireless pastoral care, as well as serving as Safeguarding Lead for the Diocese and Chair both of the Management Group at the St Benedict’s Centre and of the Kent Workplace Mission.

"In these and countless other ways, Andy has supported the life of the Diocese and its people with dedication and compassion.

"Margaret has worked alongside and supported Andy in a whole host of ways, ministering also in her own right as an LLM Licensed to the Diocese, working alongside Susanne Carlsson in the Spirituality Network as well as in her local parishes of Greenhithe and Swanscombe. She has also headed up the ROCS Connect
Network providing support for clergy partners and spouses across the Diocese."

Reflecting on the decision, Andy said:

"It has been my honour and privilege to serve as the Archdeacon of Rochester at what has been a challenging time for society and the Church. I shall be forever grateful for the people and places of this Diocese, for the friendships made and supportive colleagues who have walked alongside me.

"This decision has been both an exciting and unnerving one to make, however, it truly feels that Margaret and I are being called to explore what other new possibilities God has in store for us.

As we look forward with anticipation to this next stage of our life and ministry, I turn, as I have often done before, to Hebrews 12, in the assurance that God will help us ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for us’."


Matthew Girt, Diocesan Secretary said:

“It’s hard to believe Andy has been in role that long now, and the period of time he’s been Archdeacon has been arguably one of the most testing in generations. I am grateful for his faithfulness and ways of seeking peace and strength in God’s love.

"His practical abilities and commitment as a team member will be hugely missed, but myself and the whole Diocesan Office wish him and Margaret all the very best in what, as Andy says, is “the race marked out for them."' 

There will be an opportunity for proper and fulsome thanks to both Andy and Margaret at their farewell, which will be in the middle of September. More details to follow. 

Details about appointing a successor to Andy will also be shared in due course.

In the meantime, Bishop Jonathan encourages the whole Diocese to join with him in wishing both Andy and Margaret well:

"I would encourage the whole Diocese to join me in expressing our heartfelt thanks to Andy and Margaret for their friendship, fellowship, and dedication to the life of the Church in the Diocese of Rochester, and assuring them of our prayers and support as they prepare for this next stage of their adventure in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ."


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