The Venerable Jonathan Chaffey CB has been appointed as Archdeacon of Oxford, in succession to Martin Gorick, who was consecrated as Bishop of Dudley on 28 January. Until the summer of 2018 Jonathan was Chaplain-in-Chief and Archdeacon for the Royal Air Force. He will be licensed as Archdeacon of Oxford at a service to take place at Christ Church Cathedral.
Jonathan has held Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Oxford since 2008. He is currently serving as interim minister for the Hambleden Valley Group of Churches, having previously been attached to the Marlow Area Team. “A passion for mission and ministry is evident right across this Diocese,” says Jonathan. “The diocesan vision for a more Christ-like Church is deeply rooted in scripture and it has set us on a journey that is simultaneously inward and outward-facing by calling us to be more contemplative, compassionate and courageous. I continue to be inspired by the sacrificial manner in which clergy and laity are working out this vision within the local community.”
Speaking about the appointment, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft said: “Jonathan brings enormous wisdom, passion for mission and experience of local church life and of chaplaincy to his new role. He will be a tremendous gift to the Oxford Area, to Christ Church and to the wider diocese. I am very much looking forward to working closely with him in the years to come and to welcoming Jonathan and his wife, Jane, to the city of Oxford.” Jane is herself ordained, working formerly as a school chaplain within the diocese, and they have three adult daughters.
As well as being Archdeacon of Oxford, Jonathan will become a member of the Cathedral Chapter of Christ Church and a Member of the Governing Body of Christ Church. He is looking forward to ministry and life at Christ Church: “I love the liturgical rhythm of Cathedral life, but also the opportunities for prayer and proclamation that it brings. Christ Church Cathedral is unique in the world. That creates wonderful opportunities to build bridges between the Church and wider society.”
The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy has expressed delight at the appointment: “Jonathan will bring a wealth of rich experience and insight to the role. We eagerly await the arrival of Jonathan and Jane to the community at Christ Church.”
While acknowledging the many challenges the Church faces, Jonathan offers a staunch defence of what the Church of England brings to society: “through its denial of a divide between the sacred and the ordinary, its inclusive understanding of mission and its reach into all corners of the land, the Church of England offers a unique service to the nation”.
The Church of England Renewal and Reform programme Setting God’s People Free is particularly close to Jonathan’s heart and, alongside his chaplaincy responsibilities, will be an early priority as Archdeacon of Oxford. “It’s about being confident as Christians, sharing the grace of God in our schools, places of work and the wider community, recognising that so many of our neighbours, particularly young people, may not be religious but are very much open to spirituality.”
- The Venerable Jonathan Chaffey CB has studied at the Royal College of Defence Studies and the Universities of Durham and Nottingham. He has been an Honorary Chaplain to Her Majesty The Queen and was awarded a CB (Companion of Honourable Order of the Bath) in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.
- Jonathan’s last service as interim minister for the Hambleden Valley Group of Churches will be Easter Sunday. He served his curacy in Liverpool and has subsequently ministered in several parishes and dioceses alongside his chaplaincy duties.
- The discussion paper Religion in the Public Arena: A Strategic Challenge facing the Church of England by the Revd Jonathan Chaffey (2014) is available to read online
- Active across the wider Church and community and a keen sportsman, Jonathan is a member of the Church Mission Society (CMS), a regular celebrant at Burnham Abbey (Society of the Precious Blood) and is an occasional volunteer with the Wycombe Homeless Connection.
- Jonathan will be licensed as Archdeacon of Oxford at a service to take place at Christ Church Cathedral on 9 May
29th January 2020/ Diocese of Oxford website