Leeds Minster was full on Sunday for a service of welcome for the Venerable Paul Ayers, the new Archdeacon of Leeds.
In his sermon Paul Ayers said, “As well as being concerned with buildings and administration, an Archdeacon’s role is to assist the bishop in his pastoral care and office. I think this pastoral aspect is about encouraging, strengthening, feeding and growing the flock. So I want to get alongside the clergy and help them grow the church, and my hope and prayer is that I can create maximum contact time with people. I am here to serve, and I want to come and see you where you are.”
The congregation, which included the Lord Mayor of Leeds, heard about some of the positive church stories in the area, including St Luke’s Holbeck, which has 15 different nationalities in its congregation, and the churches in Gipton and Oakwood, which have set up a food bank in East Leeds.
Bishop Nick said: “The Church is here for the sake of the world, to serve the parishes and people – not just the congregations, and we are continuing to beef up our ability to serve the city and area of Leeds.
"I’m delighted that Paul has taken up this post. Please encourage him and support him, as job of an Archdeacon is not an easy one”.
Paul Ayers concluded his sermon with some thanks. He said: “Thank you to Bishop Nick, along with Bishop Paul and the diocese for putting their trust in me for this role; to my predecessor Paul Hooper for his outstanding ministry, a hard act to follow, and to the Revd Arani Sen for his months as Acting Archdeacon, and all the things he has been sorting out that I won't have to; to the people of Pudsey, the congregation, the Councillors and others I have had the privilege of working with in that wonderful community which I love; to my family and friends who have supported me on the journey”.