Next Archdeacon of Bedford
The next Archdeacon of Bedford is to be the Revd Canon Dave Middlebrook, currently Vicar of the thriving St Luke’s Church, Watford. He will be one of three archdeacons in the 1100 square miles of the Diocese of St Albans. Their role is popularly and historically described as being ‘the eyes and ears of the bishop’.
Archdeacon Dave, as he will be known (he associates ‘David’ with being told off!) will live in Luton with his wife of 31 years, Anne, and daughter Katie and will, diary permitting, become a familiar sight on a local Parkrun, which he currently enjoys in Watford.
Dave has ministered in St Albans Diocese since his ordination in 1998, serving also in Chorleywood and Adeyfield (Hemel Hempstead). His new role will involve contact with the hundred or so parishes of Bedfordshire, including those in Luton. The urban, suburban and rural communities of the area are ethnically and religiously diverse.
Dave is no stranger to Bedfordshire, having studied at Cranfield Institute of Technology and worked in Bedford for National Freight, as it was then known. With that experience and his love of walking, Dave is confident that he will soon get to know Bedfordshire and Luton. He is already thinking about a walking tour of parishes one summer, spending time between churches as well as in them, where people can get to know him as they share the walk. He also expects that this will take him to a fair few pubs as well!
Speaking about Dave’s appointment, the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith said: “I am delighted that Dave is going to be the next Archdeacon of Bedford. He is an experienced parish priest with a warm pastoral heart and a great sense of humour – essential qualities for an archdeacon. He will be based in Luton from where, I know, he will quickly get around Bedfordshire and immerse himself in community life.”
Dave’s Master’s Degree from Cranfield was in Distribution Technology and Management, which he feels will set him in good stead at a time of change in the church and nation. “We must accept and enjoy what is good in our traditions and be ready to look at new ways of being church and new ways of reaching people.”
Speaking about his appointment, Dave added: “I am very excited to be taking on this challenging role. I look forward to working with Bishop Richard, the many committed and devoted people among the clergy and congregations of Bedfordshire, and getting to know the area and people. There are exciting signs of growth in the area, as well as a number of challenges facing the church.
The anticipation of this new role comes tinged with some sadness at leaving the wonderful people of St Luke’s Watford, and the churches across the town, who we have got to know so well over the last ten years. I am so grateful to them for all they’ve taught us as a family about the love of Christ in that time.”
The Bishop of Bedford, Richard Atkinson, with whom Dave will work closely, said: “I am really looking forward to working with Dave in supporting and enabling mission and ministry in the communities of Bedfordshire. He brings the many skills spoken of here to that task including the ability to get involved and be hands-on in the life of the church and its people.”
see also: Archdeacon Paul to retire at year end