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Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

New Archdeacon of Barking appointed

16th Dec 2018

Reverend Canon Christopher Burke brings great missional and pastoral skills and experience of urban ministry.

The Revd Canon Christopher Burke, currently Vice Dean and Canon Precentor of Sheffield Cathedral, has been appointed as the next Archdeacon of Barking.

Chris will begin his ministry in the Diocese of Chelmsford in May 2019.

He succeeds the Right Revd John Perumbalath who became the Bishop of Bradwell in July 2018.

 The Right Revd Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford has said:

"I am delighted that Chris Burke has agreed to come and join us as the next Archdeacon of Barking. As well as his Cathedral experience in Sheffield, Chris brings experience of parish ministry on estates in diverse contexts such as Stepney and Middlesbrough.

"I encountered Chris many years ago during his first incumbency. I was impressed then with his missionary vision. Chris has an eye for detail and a pastoral heart. He will add value to our team and I'm sure his ministry will be a blessing to the parishes of the Barking Archdeaconry.  I look forward to welcoming him and his family to our diocese next year."

The Revd Canon Chris Burke added:

"I am hugely looking forward to working with the churches and communities of the Barking Archdeaconry at this very exciting time. It will be great to share in mission and ministry with colleagues in the Archdeaconry and across the Diocese.

"I look forward to joining a team which has developed such an exciting strategy for the Diocese and especially working with local communities as they seek to be faithful and respond to emerging opportunities.”

Welcoming the appointment, the Right Revd Peter Hill, the Area Bishop of Barking said:

“Chris comes to lead Barking Archdeaconry at an exciting and demanding time of growth and opportunity, including the establishment of new worshipping communities in an increasingly populous area of east London.

"He brings with him exactly the missional and pastoral skills that we need in addition to significant past urban ministry experience and wisdom. It will be great to welcome Chris into the Barking Area Leadership Team and his family into their new home in Hornchurch.”

The Right Revd Dr Pete Wilcox, Bishop of Sheffield said:

"While I have only worked with Chris for eighteen months of his eight years (in total) at Sheffield Cathedral, I have valued his support in arranging key acts of worship during that time. He will be greatly missed by his team and in the wider Diocese. Sheffield’s loss is definitely Chelmsford’s gain and I wish Chris and his family all the best for the future."

The Very Revd Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield Cathedral commented:

“Chris has served in Sheffield Cathedral as our Canon for Learning and Development and then as Precentor and Vice-Dean during a time of significant change, when we greatly enlarged our reach into the communities of South Yorkshire.

"Chris will bring a wide range of skills and experience to the communities he will serve as Archdeacon of Barking, and the whole Cathedral community join me in wishing him and his family well for this exciting new ministry."


More information

Chris Burke

Chris is currently Vice Dean and Canon Precentor at Sheffield Cathedral, having previously served as rector at St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney and vicar of South Bank, Middlesbrough. He served his curacy at St Mary’s, Nunthorpe where he met and married Helen, who works as a GP, and they have two daughters. In his spare time Chris enjoys cycling, walking and travel. 

Collation and Installation

Chris Burke will be ‘Collated and Installed’ (or admitted at a special Service) in Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday 12 May 2019 at 3.30pm.

Role of an Archdeacon

An Archdeacon is responsible for the administration of an Archdeaconry which is a part of an Episcopal Area and comprises a number of Deaneries.  

The Archdeaconry and Episcopal Area

Chris’ new Archdeaconry, Barking, is part of the ‘Barking Episcopal Area’ (or the Bishop of Barking’s Area).

The Diocese of Chelmsford

The Diocese of Chelmsford, ‘the Church of England in East London and Essex,’ is led by Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, assisted by three Area Bishops (Barking, Bradwell and Colchester), seven Archdeacons (Barking, Chelmsford, Colchester, Harlow, Southend, Stansted and West Ham) and the Dean of Chelmsford (who leads and directs the life and work of Chelmsford Cathedral).

The Diocese is a Church region of more than 1,500 square miles that stretches from the East coast to the Thames and ranges from countryside to towns and suburbs

It comprises the east London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, the county of Essex, and the unitary authorities of Southend and Thurrock.  

With a population estimated to be 3,211,000 Chelmsford is the second largest diocese in England.

About 5,000 children and adults a year are welcomed into the Christian faith through baptism. Over 700 people are confirmed and 4,250 people are baptised in the Diocese.

About six in ten people in Essex and East London say they are Christian.

The Diocese is the largest voluntary organisation in East London and Essex.

The average weekly church attendance of adults, young people and children is 36,600 in the Diocese.

There are around 1,700 weddings and services of prayer and dedication after civil marriage in the Diocese and 5,400 funeral or cremation services a year.

The Diocese comprises 469 parishes, 316 benefices, 579 churches and 518 clergy.

Nearly 30,000 children and young people attend 139 church schools.

An estimated 100,000 young people share in assemblies, chaplaincy, clubs and youth work.

The Barking Episcopal Area

The Barking Episcopal Area includes the London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest and the towns of Harlow, Epping Forest and Ongar in Essex.

The population of the Barking Episcopal Area is estimated to be 1,572,639 (2015).

Barking is served by the Bishop of Barking who lives in Walthamstow, by the Archdeacon of Barking who lives in Hornchurch, by the Archdeacon of West Ham who lives in Manor Park and  by the Archdeacon of Harlow, who lives in Sheering.

Barking has three Archdeaconries and seven Deaneries: 

The Archdeaconry of Barking with the Deaneries of Barking and Havering. 

The Archdeaconry of Harlow with the Deaneries of Harlow, and Epping Forest & Ongar.

The Archdeaconry of West Ham with the Deaneries of Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.

Within Barking’s boundaries are some 142 parishes and 174 church buildings, 214 Clergy, 41 Licensed Lay Ministers or Readers, and 35 Church Schools.

The Right Reverend John Perumbalath

John Perumbalath became the Bishop of Bradwell in July 2018. 

He began his ministry as a parish priest in the Diocese of Calcutta in the Church of North India (CNI) from 1995 to 2001. Since his move to the United Kingdom, he served in the Diocese of Rochester as Associate Priest at St George’s Beckenham (2002-05), Team Vicar in Northfleet & Rosherville (2005-08), Vicar of All Saints, Perry Street & Diocesan Urban Officer (2008-13) before he was appointed the Archdeacon of Barking in 2013.