Referee vicar to kick off new role

PUBLISHED: 11:06 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 May 2010

NEW Archdeacon of St Albans Jonathan Smith does not have to travel too far to take up his new role. Rev Smith is currently the Vicar of St John s in Harpenden and will take on the position which was left vacant on the early retirement of Helen Cunliffe in

NEW Archdeacon of St Albans Jonathan Smith does not have to travel too far to take up his new role.

Rev Smith is currently the Vicar of St John's in Harpenden and will take on the position which was left vacant on the early retirement of Helen Cunliffe in December on health grounds.

He will now exchange the life of a parish priest for a role as one of the three chief aides to the bishops in the St Albans Diocese.

Rev Smith has 28 years of experience of ordained ministry including periods as Chaplain of City University in London, Chaplain to Beds Police, as a Rural Dean and as Chairman of the Diocesan Board of Patronage.

He has worked in the Diocese of St Albans for the past 20 years and is well known in Harpenden for his community involvement, particularly for his refereeing in a youth football league and his interest in amateur acting.

Celebration

Rev Smith, who grew up in East Suffolk, has also successfully enabled children at St John's to take Holy Communion before Confirmation now it has become legally possible and he is renowned as an advocate for it.

He will remain in his role as vicar at the church until the summer, during the celebration of the parish's centenary which began on March 2.

The Ipswich Town FC supporter said: "There are some similarities between an archdeacon and a referee. Both are about allowing people to get on with an exhilarating and wonderful task, whether that is playing football or changing lives with the message of the gospel."

The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Christopher Herbert, welcomed Rev Smith's appointment: "In the Rev Jonathan Smith we have found someone with the broad experience that will allow him to put himself in others' shoes. He combines this with an approachable style that will enable people to work together to make the church more effective at bringing God's love to our communities.

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