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Director takes on new challenge

The Anglican Diocese of Durham has appointed a new Director of Mission, Discipleship and Ministry who will oversee its work to develop the activity of churches in the area.

The Revd Sophie Jelley, who will also be a Residentiary Canon at Durham Cathedral, was previously a vicar in the St Andrew’s parish at Burgess Hill in the Diocese of Chichester, in Sussex, for five years, where she was also  an Assistant Director of Ordinands. 

Photo: Keith Blundy

As Director of Mission, Discipleship and Ministry at Durham, Sophie will work with the Diocesan Resources team to explore ways of serving communities. 

She said: “I am really excited about the opportunities that God brings.  My job will be to oversee the process by which churches in the Durham Diocese can become more missional and most effectively serve their communities and best share the love of God with people. 

“I know that many communities have gone through some challenging experiences and are living with the effects of that and my first job will be to listen to as many people as I can. 

“My job is help people connect with the transformation that Jesus can bring about in people’s lives and equip parishes with the resources they need to make that happen. I am very excited at what God is going to do and I feel called here.” 

Her role as a Canon Missioner at Durham Cathedral, which will take 25 per cent of her time, will have a similar remit, seeing her work as part of a team trying to attract people who have not previously had a connection with the Cathedral. She will be installed on May 3rd at a service in the Cathedral. 

The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham said: "I am delighted that Sophie is joining us here in Durham. The work she will lead, and the focus she will give to developing and supporting mission, discipleship and ministry within the Diocese and the wider community is really important.
"We have set-out our priorities for growing Churches, for Children & Young people and for Poverty, and the experience Sophie brings through the work she has been doing in these areas since she was ordained will be of enormous benefit in both her Diocesan and Cathedral roles." 

Sophie, who became a Christian at the age of fourteen, has been a parish priest for almost twenty years. 

She had never intended to become a vicar but after a theology degree she found she loved working with people and God. Sophie went on to serve at Shipley, in the Bradford Diocese, and Uganda where she worked with the Church Mission Society, she was Resident Minister of a village Church in Surrey before becoming the Vicar of St Andrews in Burgess Hill in 2010. 

Sophie is married to Chris and has three children.

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