New Director of Mission and Ministry for Newcastle Diocese

First published on: 19th November 2023

The Bishop of Newcastle is pleased to announce that the Reverend Dr Richard Whaite is to be our next Director of Mission and Ministry.

Ric, who is currently Rector of St Mary Without-the-Walls in Chester, will take up his new role in March and as a member of Bishop Helen-Ann’s senior leadership team, Ric will hold a lead responsibility for developing and overseeing the discipleship and ministry strategy for the Diocese, including the training and equipping of lay and ordained leaders. He will also encourage and enable mission and practical evangelism in the parishes and deaneries, and support them in the Diocesan vision ‘Seeking, Sharing, Sending’.

Commenting on his appointment, Ric said: "It is a privilege to be invited to serve alongside the people of this Diocese as we begin to explore ‘Seeking, Sharing, Sending’ in the context of the nearly 150 years of the faithful witness of this Diocese to God's abiding love. I hope together we find deep joy in discerning the many gifts God offers to each of us in our journeys, as well as wisdom and humility in sharing those gifts with all whom we encounter.”

Welcoming the news, Bishop Helen-Ann said: “Ric brings to our Diocese a wealth of experience and wisdom from his time in Chester, as well as great enthusiasm, and I am grateful that he has chosen to join us during this exciting time for our Diocese as we seek to turn outwards in mission and become younger and more diverse. I very much look forward to working with Ric as we develop our strategies and training for mission and ministry.”

In addition to his parish role in Chester, Ric also currently serves on the Diocesan Committee for Ministry in Chester (as Assistant Diocesan Director of Vocations) and on the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches. During his time in Chester, Ric has taught modern doctrine and historical theology in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester, as well as on diocesan lay and ordained ministry training courses. 

Educated in History and Theology in London, Oxford, Manchester and the United States, Ric was previously Chaplain at University College in Durham and served in parochial ministry in the Kensington Episcopal Area of the Diocese of London. He was born and grew up in Stockport.

Ric’s current Diocesan Bishop, the Right Reverend Mark Tanner, Bishop of Chester, said: “Ric is an experienced and wise priest and an energising theologian. We will miss him in Chester, but I am delighted that he will be serving the Diocese of Newcastle in this role and commend him to you all very warmly and assure you of my ongoing prayers.”

Dean of Newcastle, the Very Reverend Lee Batson welcomed Ric’s appointment: “Ric will become a Canon in our Cathedral and we are very excited to be welcoming him to our Diocese. The Cathedral has undergone significant change with our recent multi-million pound refurbishment and he is joining us at a really exciting time as we discern how we can be an even stronger resource to the wider Diocese as it witnesses to the love of God.”

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