THE Rev Preb Simon Hill will be the next Archdeacon of Taunton, replacing the Ven John Reed, who is retiring at the end of the month after 37 years of ministry.

Mr Hill, currently director of clergy development for the Bath and Wells diocese, takes up his appointment in the autumn, with the Rev Dr Andrew Tatham undertaking the responsibilities of the archdeacon in the interim period.

Mr Hill will also become warden of readers and sit on the Bishop’s staff, a group of senior churchmen who support the Bishop of Bath and Wells in leading the diocese.

He said: “I embark upon this new stage in my ministry at a challenging but exciting time for the Church.

"It has been a passion of mine to see people flourish in their lay or ordained ministry – people in the parishes I have served in and more recently in my diocesan role working with clergy, readers and lay leaders.

"I look forward to getting to know and working with the church officers, parishes and communities in Taunton archdeaconry, supporting them in the service of God and the sharing of the Gospel."

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Rev Peter Hancock, said: "Simon is, at heart, a pastor with a personal gift in developing the talents of others.

"He has ably demonstrated those gifts during his time as director of clergy development and his missional approach to ministry means he will both lead and serve our churches well as the next Archdeacon of Taunton.”

Before his ordination Mr Hill taught at schools in Zimbabwe, Northumberland and Malawi.

He trained at Ripon College Cuddesdon and served his curacy in Leeds before returning to Oxfordshire as team vicar in the Dorchester team and director of the Cuddesdon Berinsfield programme where ordinands engaged with the practicalities of parish ministry and the theological principles behind them.

He moved to North Somerset in 2003 as rector of Backwell with Chelvey and Brockley, and became director of clergy development in Bath and Wells in 2010.

A keen walker, cyclist, runner and occasional footballer, he looks forward to exchanging walks on the Mendips and North Somerset coast for ones further down the coast and on the Quantocks and Exmoor.

There will be a farewell service for Archdeacon John at St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton, on Thursday, June 30, at 7pm.