Supporting, encouraging, resourcing, meet the new Archdeacon of Rochdale

Date published: 15 August 2008

Meet the new Archdeacon of Rochdale, the Revd Cherry Vann, who becomes the most senior female member of clergy in the diocese when she is licensed in September.

Cherry has been Team Rector of East Farnworth and Kearsley and Area Dean of Farnworth. She is also the Bishop’s Advisor on Women’s Ministry, and has served all her ordained career in the diocese.

She said, “I see my new role as supporting, encouraging and resourcing clergy and parishes in the Rochdale Archdeaconry. There will be a lot of committee work involved. For me it will be a challenge learning to discern God at work in committees. They are the best way we have of getting jobs done, and I will be working with people to make the best of our resources and support the mission of the church.”

Archdeacons help take decisions about church buildings and other properties, play a big role in appointing new staff, and are particularly valued by parishes during interregnums when they support Churchwardens.

Cherry says, “Having been at St John’s, Farnworth for 10 years I have a good insight into parish needs. I used Archdeacon John for information and advice. He gave a lot of time and was invaluable in helping us find funding for community projects. It was good to know there was someone at that level who was on my side to support me.

“A lot of clergy feel quite alone and burdened with the responsibilities of meeting Parish Share and increasing numbers of their congregations. I’d like to assure them that they are not on their own, and share as much as I can in what they are trying to do.”

As Archdeacon, Cherry will also be involved in the pastoral review process – a large and ongoing project. Having seen two churches close in her team she says, “I understand what a terrible and heart rending process it is when the obvious way forward is for your church to close. Not only do you lose a church building – a visible sign of God in the community – but you can also lose church members. It is not a step to be undertaken lightly, but can be a necessity.”

Cherry says she will miss being part of a Eucharistic community. She hopes to establish a routine of Morning Prayer with local clergy. She says, “There will be lots of opportunities to preach and cover for duties in parishes. I hope there will also be invitations to preside, which is at the heart of my own spirituality.”

Cherry studied piano and violin at the Royal College of Music before reading Theology at Westcott House, Cambridge. Music is still an important outlet for her, and she plays the piano when she has the opportunity and conducts the Bolton Chamber Orchestra.

Her other great passion is gardening. She says, “I’ll be inheriting a wilderness when I move house to Oldham. It will be a challenge, but I love gardening on my days off.”

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