Island Archdeacon leaves to take up new challenge in Swindon
THE Venerable Caroline Baston, Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, is to take up an exciting new post in the autumn
Archdeacon Caroline will be Transition Minister and Priest-in-Charge of St Andrew, North Swindon.
Caroline took up her current post in 2006, having served in Winchester Diocese since 1989 where she held various roles, including parish priest, Diocesan Communications Officer and Director of Ordinands. As Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, she has been one of the Bishop of Portsmouth’s senior colleagues, responsible for supporting, encouraging and resourcing clergy and parishes on the Island.
Reflecting on her five years as Archdeacon, the Bishop of Portsmouth, The Rt Revd Christopher Foster said: “Caroline’s ministry on the Island has been committed and generous of her time, energy and of prayer. We shall miss her leadership, but most of all I am sorry to lose her as a close colleague and friend. It is a mark of Caroline’s deep sense of call to the ministry of the Gospel that she is accepting this challenging and pioneering role in Swindon.”
In Swindon, Caroline will work with the Christian community at St Andrews, which has been overwhelmed by a change in character of the area through the building of large new housing areas. Caroline’s role will be to lead the way forward locally and strategically for this growing parish of 22,000.
The role of Transition Minister is a time-limited post which involves working with others (in this case: a retired priest with development and training skills, a newly appointed schools and community worker and a newly appointed headteacher) to help a community which has experienced serious difficulty. It involves establishing what has gone wrong, building foundations for the future and providing a sense of vision. After 3 years, a long-term appointment is envisaged.
She said: “I’m excited as well as daunted by what I believe to be God’s call to north Swindon. I’m very grateful for the support and encouragement I’ve had from all over the Island. I will miss the people, the strong sense of being part of a very special community and, of course, the stunning scenery. The call to something new came out of the blue, but I believe it right to respond to this challenge. I hope the fruits of this venture will be of benefit, not just to the local people, but the wider diocese and Church as well.”
The Revd Dr Trevor Reader, Archdeacon of Portsdown, added: “Caroline has not only been a highly competent and dedicated Archdeacon, but also a loyal colleague and friend. She is a deeply spiritual person and one of her real contributions has been to constantly call us back to prayer and to the Good News as revealed in the Gospels. “Remember God in all this”, she would say. I will miss her immensely.”
The Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Major-General Martin White, commented: “On the Island, Archdeacon Caroline has made a real and lasting impact. Her quiet sense of humour and engaging manner has endeared her to church congregations and the wider community, young and old. She leaves for a new ministry with our best wishes and thanks."