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Archdeacon Peter Townley to leave diocese

First published on: 10th July 2023

The Ven Peter Townley, Archdeacon of Pontefract will leave the role he has held for 15 years to become an Assistant Minister in the Diocese of York, it was announced yesterday.

Peter will serve the Benefice of Sherburn-in-Elmet with Saxton, Aberford with Micklefield and Ledsham with Fairburn and thanked all those who have worked with him through the years.

“It has been a privilege to be the Archdeacon of Pontefract for the past fifteen years and to work with such a fine and stimulating group of colleagues,” Peter said.

“I have been very fortunate to serve alongside such a dedicated team of clergy and churchwardens and to be so lovingly received in our churches and parishes.

“Thank you so much one and all.  Moira and I look forward to meeting and serving the people in the Sherburn-in-Elmet Group of parishes.

“We would be grateful for your prayers as we embrace this new chapter in our lives”.

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds praised Peter for his devoted service: “The Diocese of Leeds owes much to Peter’s faithfulness, pastoral care and constancy. He bridged the transition from the historic diocese of Wakefield into the new diocese with grace, generosity and adaptability. He has served well as archdeacon, Chaplain to the Mothers Union, Area Clergy Development Officer and Chair of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches as well as in schools and education.

“He will be greatly missed as a team member and friend. I wish him and Moira well as they move to York.”

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield, has worked closely with Peter across the Wakefield Episcopal Area and said: “Since 2008 Peter has been an outstanding addition to the Diocesan leadership team both in the old Diocese of Wakefield and for the past nine years in Leeds. He has brought strong pastoral gifts, a commitment to the mission of the local church, and a readiness to help churches seize opportunities and develop creative solutions based on the wisdom of 43 years of ministry.

“Above all Peter will be remembered for his sense of fun, laughter and enjoyment of lunches! I am sure Peter and Moira will enjoy the next stage of ministry just over the border into the Diocese of York."

Welcoming Peter into his new role, the Rt Revd Dr John Thomson, Bishop of Selby said: “I am delighted that the Ven Peter Townley has accepted the post of House for Duty priest in the Benefice of Sherburn-in-Elmet with Saxton. Aberford with Micklefield and Ledsham with Fairburn led by Revd Canon Chris Wilton. He brings a wealth of experience and wisdom to this new ministry. I know he will bring much to these parishes and to Selby Deanery."

The Farewell Service for the Archdeacon of Pontefract will be at Wakefield Cathedral on Sunday, September 24 at 4pm.

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