THE Archdeacon of Carlilse has stepped down from his position to spend more time with his family, the Diocese of Carlisle has announced.

The Venerable Lee Townend has been in the post since early 2017 after he arrived from the Diocese of Derby and cared for the deaneries of Carlisle, Penrith, Brampton and Appleby.

Archdeacons serve deaneries within dioceses to work with bishops and have responsibility for all buildings, the welfare of clergy and their families.

Alongside his role as archdeacon, Father Townend also took on the role of Strategic Development Officer, he served as a trustee of the Carlisle Diocesan Board of Finance, was on the county’s ecumenical group - God for All vision and strategy and in 2020 he became Priest in Charge of Barton, Pooley Bridge, Martindale and Watermillock.

"We have enjoyed our time in Cumbria but since the end of lockdown Liz and I have been praying and thinking through where God is calling us to," said Father Townend.

"We have recently become grandparents to two baby grandsons and have older parents who we’ve hardly seen in the last six years due to distance.

"Therefore, we felt that God was nudging us to move back to our home county and be available for family in the short term."

Father Townend was ordained in 1998 and has served in Canterbury, North Yorkshire and Derby.

The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, said: "It has been wonderful to work alongside Lee for nearly six years; he has been a valued member of our senior leadership team.

“I give thanks for Lee’s commitment to grow God’s Kingdom here in Cumbria during his time in ministry. He and his wife, Liz, will leave with our very best wishes and continued prayers as they spend time with their new grandchildren and in supporting their parents.”

Father Townend will step down with immediate effect and the Diocese have organised cover from the start of September.

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