Diocese of Portsmouth

    New person to lead Portsmouth’s fastest-growing church

    12 March 2023

    BISHOP Jonathan has appointed a new person to lead Portsmouth’s fastest-growing church.

    The Rev Lewis Dean will become the new team rector at Harbour Church, which was originally launched in September 2016 with just 20 people. It now welcomes more than 500 worshippers every Sunday to three different locations across the city.

    Lewis is currently a curate at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton (HTB), where he’s been since 2020. As part of his curacy, he has had specific roles working with kids, youth and students, has led their leadership development programme, led the football ministry Bridge the Gap in London, and is currently heading up Prayer. He’s looking forward to being part of the development of Harbour Church.

    “I’ve been based in London for the past six years, three years on ordination training, based at St John’s, Hampton Wick, and three years as curate,” he said. “I’d become a Christian at the age of 19 after a life-changing encounter with the Holy Spirit, coming from a background where none of my family were churchgoers. At that point in my life, I was manager of a sports centre and, after feeling called into church leadership, then spent five years as a youth pastor in High Wycombe before coming to London.

    “I’ve been so fortunate to be part of HTB, with an amazing team of clergy and volunteers, learning from each other and from God. One of my roles was to help students with their wellbeing, so that was a real privilege.

    “I’ve seen God do amazing things here in London, particularly with young men through the football ministry, and more recently I’ve been heading up the Prayer Department, where we’ve just set up a prayer room, and spent the start of the new year praying for London through a prayer campaign called ‘Light Up London’.

    “The previous vicar of Harbour Church, Alex Wood and his wife Liz are now part of the HTB team, so I’ve been journeying with them. They did an amazing job in the first six years of Harbour Church’s existence, planting a church in Portsmouth, growing the congregation, and making a real impact in the city.

    “I’m really looking forward to being part of the next season for Harbour Church, looking at how we can continue to love the city. The Harbour vision isn’t going to change – we want to invite the people of Portsmouth to know Jesus. We want to see Portsmouth transformed by God's love, and I’m excited about the prospect of planting more new churches from the Harbour congregations.”

    Lewis is married to Louise, who has worked in the international development/humanitarian sector for the past 10 years, in programme design, emergency response and grants management. She now works in fundraising for the peace-building organisation International Alert.

    They are pleased to be close to the Isle of Wight, where Louise spent many of her childhood holidays. The couple have recently become parents for the second time – baby Winnie is now a younger sister to two-year-old Norah.

    Lewis will start his new role on a date to be announced, subject to DBS checks.

    Harbour Church was created from a church plant from St Peter’s, Brighton – the previous Bishop of Portsmouth invited them to create a new church designed to appeal to teenagers, students and young adults. Around 20 worshippers moved their homes and jobs from Brighton to Portsmouth, launching Harbour Church in a refurbished department store in Commercial Road in September 2016.

    The church grew so quickly that it started regular Sunday congregations in St George’s Church, Portsea; St Alban’s Church, Copnor; and All Saints Church in Commercial Road. Their four congregations at these three venues have an average age of around 26, with specific services for students and young people on Sunday evenings, and for families on Sunday afternoons.

    A group of 30 people moved from Harbour Church to create a new daughter church in Cardiff in 2020. That church plant is called Citizen Church and is also designed to appeal to students and young people. Another 10 moved to Torbay in summer 2021 to plant a church called Bay Church.

    Harbour Church also planted a congregation into Christ Church, Gosport, within our diocese, in September 2021. It launched a new family-friendly service on Sunday mornings, which now attracts hundreds of parents and children.

    For more details about Harbour Church, see: harbourchurchuk.org.

    Harbour Church, Portsmouth

    Harbour Headquarters All Saints Church Portsmouth Commercial Road Portsmouth, PO1 4BT

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