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

New Archdeacon of Colchester appointed

10th Feb 2019

Reverend Ruth Patten will bring vision, energy and thoughtfulness to her new post as Archdeacon

The Revd Ruth Patten, currently Priest in Charge in the Benefice of Great Dunmow and Barnston in the Diocese of Chelmsford, has been appointed as the next Archdeacon of Colchester. 

Ruth will begin her ministry as Archdeacon of Colchester in May 2019.

She succeeds the Venerable Annette Cooper who retired in November 2018.

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

“I am delighted that Ruth Patten has agreed to be the next Archdeacon of Colchester. She served as a curate in the Colchester Archdeaconry and is currently Priest-in-Charge of Great Dunmow and Barnston in the Stansted Archdeaconry, so she knows North Essex well.

Before ordination, Ruth worked as a producer in the BBC. She is a creative person. She will bring vision, energy and thoughtfulness to her new post and I am very confident that her ministry will be a blessing to the parishes of the Colchester Archdeaconry. She will also add value to the senior team in the diocese.” 

The Revd Ruth Patten added:
“I am excited to be returning to the Colchester Archdeaconry in a new capacity.  I have come to love North Essex over the past few years and look forward to working alongside people in the parishes and communities of the Archdeaconry.  I am also very pleased to be joining colleagues in the Colchester Area Team.”
Welcoming the appointment, the Right Reverend Roger Morris, the Area Bishop of Colchester said:
“I am genuinely thrilled at the prospect of working with Ruth in this new capacity. Ruth has truckloads of experience from her time as Interactive Platforms Producer at the BBC and has proven herself to be a very able, imaginative, warm-hearted parish priest.

“Ruth is a gifted musician with a very varied musical taste. She has spoken before about life ‘not being a rehearsal’ and therefore I am delighted that she has grasped this opportunity at this time to serve God as Archdeacon of Colchester. It is a hugely challenging role but I know that Ruth is more than capable of rising to the challenge and giving us the performance of a lifetime.”

More information

Ruth Patten

Ruth is currently Priest in Charge of St Mary’s, Great Dunmow and St Andrew’s, Barnston and served her curacy in the Witham Team Ministry.  She trained as a musician and worked for BBC Radio for 10 years prior to training for ordination.  In her spare time, Ruth enjoys hiking, cycling, singing and listening to a wide variety of music. 

Collation and Installation

Ruth Patten will be ‘Collated and Installed’ (or admitted at a special Service) as the Archdeacon of Colchester in Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday 12 May 2019 at 3.30pm. Chris Burke will be ‘Collated and Installed’ as the Archdeacon of Barking at the same service.

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

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

The Diocese of Chelmsford

The Diocese of Chelmsford, ‘the Church of England in Essex and East London,’ 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 county of Essex, the unitary authorities of Southend and Thurrock and the East London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.

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 Colchester Episcopal Area

Major locations within the Colchester Episcopal Area include London Stansted Airport, Harwich seaport, the University of Essex and Colchester, one of the fastest growing towns in the country.

The population of the Colchester Episcopal Area is estimated to be 545,000 (2015).

Colchester is served by the Bishop of Colchester who lives in Lexden, by the Archdeacon of Colchester who lives in Witham and by the Archdeacon of Stansted who lives in Braintree.

Colchester has two Archdeaconries and eight Deaneries:

  • The Archdeaconry of Colchester with the Deaneries of Colchester, Harwich, Witham and St Osyth.
  • The Archdeaconry of Stansted with the Deaneries of Saffron Walden, Hinckford, Braintree and Dunmow & Stansted. 

Within Colchester’s boundaries are some 185 parishes and 162 church buildings, 208 Clergy, 31 Licensed Lay Ministers or Readers, and 36 Church Schools.

The Venerable Annette Cooper

Annette Cooper was appointed Archdeacon of Colchester in 2004. Until the creation of Stansted Archdeaconry and the appointment of Robin King as the first Archdeacon of Stansted in 2013 she was the only Archdeacon serving the Colchester Episcopal Area.