Fond farewells to founding Diocesan Secretary Debbie Child

Debbie Child has now retired officially from her key role as our Diocesan Secretary, handing over to Jonathan Wood, who takes on that responsibility in most challenging times.

Debbie has given 28 years loyal service to the Church of England in our region, having begun work in education for the then Diocese of Bradford, before becoming its Diocesan Secretary.

She was made joint Diocesan Secretary for the Diocese of Leeds, together with Ashley Ellis, in 2014 and was central in the formation of our young diocese and one of its “lynchpins” said Bishop Nick.

“Debbie is a remarkable servant of the Church, bringing compassionate pastoral skills to bear on organisational and business demands.

“She has been an essential leader of change as three historic dioceses were dissolved in 2014 and the Diocese of Leeds was created,” Bishop Nick said.

At a goodbye to diocesan staff, held on Zoom, colleagues paid tribute to Debbie for being inspirational, dedicated, clear-sighted and kind.

“I’ve loved my job and we’ve all been in it together. Thank you,” she said to the 71 staff online.

In a farewell message to the diocese, Debbie said:

“It has been a privilege to work with you and to serve the parishes over so many years. 

“I have found it challenging and demanding, but exciting, fulfilling and so encouraging to see the work that goes on across the Episcopal Areas. 

“It is a very difficult time to be leaving my post.

"But, I’m delighted to say that the new Diocesan Secretary, Jonathan Wood (jonathan.wood [at] began work on March 16.

“He has certainly had a baptism of fire! 

“Jonathan is now taking the lead at a time when we have so many decisions affecting our people and our future.

“Wishing you, your colleagues and your communities courage, patience and good health.”

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