Diocesan press releases

New Archdeacons announced for the Diocese of St Asaph

The Bishop of St Asaph has announced a new line up to the diocesan leadership team as a result of the forthcoming retirement of two Archdeacons.

The Rt Revd Gregory Cameron has appointed two new Archdeacons to replace the Venerable Dr Peter Pike, retiring Archdeacon of Montgomery and the Venerable Bob Griffith, retiring archdeacon of Wrexham.  At the same time, Bishop Gregory is reshaping the leadership team, which has responsibility for almost 100 clergy, 228 churches, more than 500 lay leaders and over 7,000 church members.

The Vice-Dean of Chester Cathedral, The Revd Canon Barry Wilson, has been appointed as Archdeacon of Montgomery, which covers the southern half of the diocese.  The Revd Andy Grimwood, the Vicar of Rhyl, will take up the role of Archdeacon of St Asaph, which covers the northern coast of the diocese.  The current Archdeacon of St Asaph, the Venerable John Lomas, will move to take up responsibility for the Archdeaconry of Wrexham.

Announcing the new team, Bishop Gregory said: “The retirement of two Archdeacons this year gives us the opportunity to change the role and responsibilities of Archdeacons.  Originally conceived as the bishop’s fixers, we want our archdeacons to lead the renewal of the Church, and to mentor and lead Mission Areas towards growth.

“The appointments of Barry from the Diocese of Chester and Andy from Rhyl brings different ideas and experiences to the leadership team and we look forward to moving ahead with our exciting plans for the diocese.”

Canon Barry Wilson, a former RE teacher from Stoke on Trent, was ordained in 1997.  He has been working in the Diocese of Chester since 2013, firstly as Rector of St Mary’s in Nantwich and most recently as Vice-Dean of Chester Cathedral.  Before that, he was Vicar of All Saints’ Madeley and St Margaret’s, Betley, near Newcastle under Lyme in the Diocese of Lichfield.

Barry said: “I am delighted to be moving to Wales, and bringing with me the skills and experience I have developed in growing churches in Staffordshire and Cheshire during my ministry.  I am looking forward to returning to rural life with my move to the Montgomery Archdeaconry.  My happiest times in ministry were in rural communities where close relationships develop easily and deep conversations follow.”

Barry is married to Yvonne and they have two children and three grandchildren.  Barry and Yvonne will be moving to Llandrinio later in the year to take up the post.

The Revd Andy Grimwood will become the Archdeacon of St Asaph.  Andy, who has two teenaged sons, is a Manchester United supporter and Star Wars lover.  He has always worked in Wales, taking up his first job after graduation with British Gas in Cardiff.  As a curate in the Diocese of Llandaff, he learnt Welsh and will be immersing himself further in the language with an intensive course at Nant Gwrtheyrn in July.   Andy moved to the Diocese of St Asaph in 2001 firstly to Rhyl, then to Newtown before returning to Rhyl in 2013.

Andy said: “I’m honoured and humbled to be offered this role.  I’m passionate about God and passionate about people and hope to use my previous experience to grow the church here in Wales.”  Andy, along with his wife, Fran and family will be moving to Caerwys to take up the role of Archdeacon.

The Venerable John Lomas will become the Archdeacon of Wrexham, having served the last three and a half years as Archdeacon of St Asaph.  A former navy officer, John returned to the navy as a chaplain in 2000, after being ordained in the Diocese of St Asaph in 1994.   John spent ten years as Vicar of Holywell, before serving as Transition Missioner for the Diocese, helping churches in interregnum to consider positive ways forward.

John said: “These are changing times for churches across the Diocese of St Asaph.  We looking to develop bold initiatives to support new types of church life, different ways of expressing the Christian faith and new opportunities to help all people to reconnect with God.”

John and his wife, Jan will move to Rossett to take up the post of Archdeacon of Wrexham.  The Archdeacons-elect are scheduled to be installed at the beginning of October.  The Archdeacon of Wrexham, Bob Griffith is due to retire at the end of June, while the Archdeacon of Montgomery, Peter Pike will retire at the end of September.

Bishop Gregory added a tribute to the two retiring Archdeacons saying: “Archdeacon Bob has given his entire life in the service of ministry to this diocese, while Archdeacon Peter has offered us his most experienced and mature years.  Both have brought many things and different ministries to the diocese but both are equal in their dedication and their passion for St Asaph.”

The Diocese of St Asaph is part of the Church in Wales, an independent Province within the worldwide Anglican Communion of Churches.  The diocese is a community of 228 churches covering the counties of Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham and parts of Gwynedd and Powys.  It looks after 51 schools, including one shared faith secondary school.