The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are delighted to announce that Canon Phil Potter will be the next Archbishops’ Missioner and leader of the Fresh Expressions team.
Canon Potter, who is Director of Pioneer Ministry for the Diocese of Liverpool, will succeed Bishop Graham Cray, who has held the posts since 2009. Canon Potter will take up the role at the beginning of April 2014. His appointment has been warmly welcomed by the board of Fresh Expressions and its partners.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: ‘I am delighted that Canon Potter has agreed to take up the post of Archbishops’ Missioner and Team Leader of Fresh Expressions. Phil is a skilled and imaginative practitioner whose achievements as a pioneer minister and church builder have been extraordinary. At the same time, I would like to express my deep thanks to Bishop Graham for his five years of distinguished service.
‘I am also excited that the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church, will be chairman of the Board of Fresh Expressions. I am grateful to God for the growth we have already seen through Fresh Expressions and for the other denominations with whom this ministry is shared. Working together provides the oxygen of mission and evangelism. I am convinced that the combination of Canon Potter as team leader and Dr Atkins as chairman will be an ideal partnership as we serve God in his mission in this way.’
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said: ‘Phil Potter has a strong track record in pioneer ministry in his own Diocese of Liverpool and beyond. I am confident that his leadership of the Fresh Expressions team will strengthen the Church’s mission as both Fresh Expressions and inherited Church work together to proclaim Christ afresh in this and for coming generations. He has my full support and will be in my prayers.’
Commenting on his appointment, Canon Potter said: ‘It is a great privilege for me to take on the role of Archbishops' Missioner and team leader of Fresh Expressions for the next phase of its development. As well as being a dynamic and effective ecumenical partnership encompassing many denominations and traditions, Fresh Expressions is a movement that is transforming the missional life of so many churches in this country and around the world. It is also transforming individual lives by reaching many people who wouldn’t normally be reached with the good news of Jesus.
‘I’m aware that I follow in the footsteps of inspirational predecessors and I would very much like to pay tribute to the work of Bishop Steven Croft and Bishop Graham Cray. I look forward to building on their strong foundations with the help of Fresh Expressions’ team members and partners. Liverpool has been a very special place for me and I will always be grateful for the support of the Diocese and the way it has encouraged the development of fresh expressions of church. I will take that spirit of openness with me into this new challenge and would pray that this third phase of Fresh Expressions will see many more people champion its ministry and effectiveness.’
Bishop Graham Cray said: ‘I am delighted with the appointment of Phil Potter as the next Archbishops' Missioner and Fresh Expressions Team Leader. Phil and I share a common history of working with David Watson in York. Since those days I have admired his ability to grow a church, to develop flagship fresh expressions and to help his diocese develop a mixed economy culture. He has contributed substantially to the development of fresh expressions and mission-shaped denominational structures both here and overseas. This appointment, which has also been welcomed by the Fresh Expressions' Partners and Board, is an exciting one as we look to the next phase of the Fresh Expressions' movement.'
Additional information about Phil Potter:
Canon Phil Potter is Director of Pioneer Ministry in the Diocese of Liverpool, and is involved in national and international strategies for promoting new ways of doing church. In the recent past, he has worked as a consultant and speaker in Australia, North America, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Germany.
For 20 years, he was vicar of St Marks Haydock, leading and pastoring the church through many transitions, from being a traditional urban congregation to a large and vibrant mixed economy Cell Church.
Before ordination, Phil worked in retail management and vocational guidance before becoming a professional singer songwriter. Helping to pioneer contemporary worship, he worked and travelled internationally with the late David Watson, leading his team of Christian artists in mission, and recorded four solo albums with Kingsway music.
He has written two books: The Challenge of Change (BRF 2009), and The Challenge of Cell Church (BRF 2001).
Phil is married to Joy, who works as a Deputy Headteacher in Liverpool, and has two children, both working in the music and arts industry. His main interests are music, home design, gardening and small grandchildren.
Notes to editors:
Fresh Expressions is a way of describing the planting of new congregations or churches that are different in ethos and style from the church which planted them, because they aim to reach a different group of people than those already attending the original church. They are established primarily for the benefit of people who have never been to church.
There are at least 2,000 fresh expressions of church in the CofE and Methodist Church. The Church of England’s provisional attendance figures for 2010 were released in January 2012. The statistics included the denomination’s first ‘mapping’ of fresh expressions of church across all dioceses, revealing at least 1,000 fresh expressions and new forms of church.
The national Fresh Expressions team, which Canon Potter will lead, exists to encourage and support the movement which has seen hundreds of new congregations being formed alongside more traditional churches across the UK and internationally.