Congratulations (or whatever is appropriate) to Audrey Elkington, who has been appointed the next Archdeacon of Bodmin, here in the wonderful Diocese of Truro. We look forward to welcoming her here. I have to admit that I'm usually quite cynical about the appointment of senior clergy, but what from I have so far found out about our new Archdeacon, it looks like I might be pleasantly surprised this time.
I'm heartened by this appointment, for three reasons:
1. Not an internal job. So often we see these posts going to a local boy or girl. Nothing wrong with that in principle, but it happens too often to believe that these appointments are always being made on merit. Sometimes there might be a well-qualified local candidate (there might even have been in this case), but Bishops ought to be brave enough to seek the best person for the job, not just put in someone they think is a good chap.
2. Not one of the usual suspects. Some people are very good at thrusting themselves up the career ladder, by being on all the committees, knowing the right people, and generally putting themselves in the spotlight. There's nothing wrong with this either, but it can mean that those who don't have the taste for that kind of thing can be overlooked. Dr Elkington's CV doesn't read like that, though. It seems to me that she has simply got on with the job in hand, first in parish ministry, and then in a long stint as DDO & Bishops Chaplain.
3. Not a prima donna. Leadership is much prized in the modern church, and with good reason. But sadly many people confuse the gifts of a leader with an altogether different set of skills. For all that there are lots of senior clergy who are wise, mature, and secure in themselves, there are another bunch who are bombastic, self-opinionated and domineering in their leadership. Bishops and interview panels are occasionally dazzled by those who talk a good game and easily persuaded by their high opinion of themselves. Alan Wilson posted something very shrewd on this topic earlier this week. I have it on quite good authority that Audrey is not this type, and, in my humble opinion, she will be a better Archdeacon for it.
Read the Bishop of Truro's press release here.