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The Revd John Fry announced as the Area Dean of Epping Forest and Ongar

11 September 2023

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani has announced that the next Area Dean of Epping Forest and Ongar will be the Revd John Fry.  

John is currently Incumbent of the Theydon Parishes and has served in the Diocese of Chelmsford since his ordination in 2013, originally as Curate of St Mary’s Theydon Bois and All Saints Theydon Garnon and as Vicar since 2016 when the parish of St Mary’s Stapleford Tawney with Theydon Mount joined the newly formed Benefice.  He has also served as Interim Cathedral Missioner at Chelmsford Cathedral on a part time secondment basis since May 2023 a role he will continue to serve in until the end of this year. A date for John’s commissioning will be announced soon, after which he will legally become Area Dean, although he will not take on full responsibilities in the role, until his time at Chelmsford Cathedral comes to an end.

John will succeed The Revd Canon Lee Batson as Area Dean when he moves from his current post as Team Rector, Epping District and Priest in Charge North Weald, to become Dean of Newcastle

Speaking about John’s appointment, Bishop Guli said:

“I’m delighted that John has agreed to take on this additional role as Area Dean of Epping Forest and Ongar. His valuable experience of local parish ministry and his contribution to our diocesan life through his service on Bishop’s Council, Diocesan Synod and in his current role at Chelmsford Cathedral will equip him well as he supports the parishes and worshipping communities of the Epping Forest and Ongar Deanery. I’m very grateful to The Revd Peter Smith, The Revd Malcom Macdonald and The Revd Sam Brazier-Gibbs, who will serve as Assistant Area Deans and, in particular, will support John with the day-to-day workload while he completes his service at the  Cathedral.

I also want to thank the Revd Canon Lee Batson for his faithful service to the Epping Forest and Ongar Deanery and to wish him and Steph every blessing in the future.“ 

The Rt Revd Lynne Cullens, the Bishop of Barking said:

“John’s appointment as Area Dean is particularly good news for the people, churches and schools of the Epping Forest and Ongar Deanery. I will be praying for him as he prepares to take on the role and very much look forward to his gifted input to the Barking Area leadership team. I also want to thank Lee for his service as Area Dean and for all that he has done to support the parishes of the Epping Forest and Ongar Deanery,”

Speaking about his appointment the Revd John Fry said:

“After 10 years serving the Deanery of Epping Forest and Ongar, I am looking forward to continuing to share in ministry within a team of inspirational colleagues where I have had the opportunity to learn and grow as a minister.  It is a great privilege to be called to this role and I am excited to see the next stage of the journey with Jesus for the parishes and communities of the Deanery.”