Category: Conferences

The Revd Mark Aitken

The Royal Foundation of St. Katharine

The Revd Mark Aitken moved in January 2013 to become Master of the Royal Foundation of St Katharine. He had expected to be a parish priest for all of his ministry but his path has turned out to be rather different to the one he foresaw. He began his ministry at St Mary-at-Finchley before taking over a church/community building in Radlett in the St Alban’s Diocese.


Eight years as a Vicar on the edge of Norwich saw him fully involved in the life of a large suburban parish with vast numbers of baptisms, weddings and funerals as well as the complete rebuilding of one church after an attack of dry rot.

A course at St George’s Windsor changed his direction and so he spent eleven years as a school chaplain at Sherborne before being persuaded to become the Head of an Independent School in Ramsgate. This experience he found fascinating as it challenged him to find ways of shaping a whole community to have a religious ethos. The unexpected arrival of both these posts has encouraged him to be aware of the varied ways in which we can further the Kingdom of God outside the normal patterns of ministry.

During his time as parish priest and chaplain he has gained a considerable amount of pastoral experience. His role as a Head means he has also been deeply involved in the whole process of developing peoples’ skills and careers. This has led to a fascination with how the Church looks to us the gifts and abilities of all its members.

He is thoroughly enjoying redirecting St Katharine’s to a position where he hopes it will be a wonderful resource for the Church as a place of Reflection and Community.

The Rt Revd Martin Seeley: Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Bishop Martin Seeley

The Right Reverend Martin Seeley read Geography and then Theology at Jesus College, Cambridge, before a year at Ripon College, Cuddesdon.  He was awarded the English Fellowship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and continued his ministerial training there.

He served his title at the parish of Bottesford with Ashby, Scunthorpe in Lincoln Diocese from 1978 to 1980.

He then returned to New York City where he served as curate at the Church of the Epiphany and Assistant Director of Trinity Institute, Trinity Wall Street, from 1980 to 1985. Then from 1985 to 1990 he was Executive Director of the Thompson Center, an ecumenical lay and clergy education programme in St Louis, Missouri.

He returned to England in 1990, and until 1996 was a Selection Secretary at the Advisory Board of Ministry, and Secretary for Continuing Ministerial Education.

From 1996 to 2006 he was Vicar of the Isle of Dogs, Tower Hamlets in the Diocese of London.

Since 2006 he was Principal of Westcott House, Cambridge and from 2008, Honorary Canon at Ely Cathedral. He has also served as President of the Cambridge Theological Federation.

He is married to the Reverend Jutta Brueck, Priest in Charge of St Thomas’ Ipswich, and they have two children, Anna, 16 and Luke, 13. He is a keen and able cook, and a keen but less able saxophonist.

Rt Revd Adrian Newman Bishop of Stepney

Adrian Newman became the Bishop of Stepney in July 2011.  He describes himself as a social entrepreneur, committed to human flourishing and the re-enchantment of society.  He was once introduced as the ‘most un-Dean-like Dean in the Church of England’ – a description he quite liked at the time.  He is currently intent on being a most un-Bishop-like Bishop………..

He worked as a management economist before ministerial training at Trinity College Bristol.

He was ordained in 1985 and served as a curate at St Mark’s Forest Gate. In 1989 he was appointed Vicar of Christ Church, Hillsborough, Sheffield.

In 1996, he became Rector of St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham, and oversaw a redevelopment of the church site at the same time as its parish was being transformed by the demolition and rebuilding of the surrounding retail district.

He became Dean of Rochester in 2005, leading the second oldest cathedral foundation in the UK through a time of cultural change and major redevelopment.

He was consecrated Bishop of Stepney on 25th July 2011.

The Stepney Episcopal Area spans the three London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Islington which he describes as “one of the most exciting, vibrant and diverse places in the whole of the country, an area that is challenged and challenging, but authentic and alive.”

His role is to lead the church in Stepney in serving the changing society of East London.  This involves, on the one hand, addressing the challenges of Boroughs with significant rankings in terms of UK child poverty, and on the other engaging with the high-end economy of Canary Wharf, which employs more people than a city the size of Leicester.

He is married to Gill and they have three adult sons.

Andy Broom: Archdeacon of the East Riding

Originally from Norfolk, Andy was ordained in 1992 and worked in parochial roles in Telford and Chesterfield before becoming Director Mission & Ministry in Derby Diocese; four years ago he became Archdeacon of the East Riding in York Diocese. In Derby he led a review which paved the way to significant deanery changes but left before they happened! In York this was spotted on the CV and within a couple of months of arriving he had been asked to lead a similar process. The context is very different and so are the proposals but this time he is delighting in being present to see what actually happens!

Married with two adult children, when Andy is not archdeaconing he enjoys walking up hills and watching his beloved Norwich City . . . both of which can be very hard work!

The Rt Revd Alison White: Bishop of Hull

The Rt Revd Alison White was consecrated as the  Bishop of Hull on 3rd July 2015.

She was ordained in Durham in 1986 and since then has had a variety of roles in the church both locally and nationally. Before moving to Hull she was the Parish Priest of Riding Mill in Northumberland and Adviser in Spirituality and Spiritual Direction for the Diocese of Newcastle.

Bishop Alison is married to Frank who has recently retired as the Assistant Bishop of Newcastle.

She will be speaking at the 2018 conference.

Emma Buchan

Emma Buchan is the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group Project leader. The Task Group was set up at the instigation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York to enable culture change in the Church of England around Evangelism and Witness. 
She has been at the forefront of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ the invitation for a great wave of prayer for the evangelisation of our nation during the week leading up to Pentecost 2016.

Emma is married with two children. Her husband is a Rural Dean so is familiar with the opportunities and stresses of life at the sharp end in a deanery.


Newsletter after the Conference

This year’s conference was an exciting event! We hope you enjoyed it, and found it helpful. There was a great deal of energy around and a lot of interesting conversations.

We’re already starting to review the 2016 conference and think ahead to 2018. We would appreciate your feedback, so do take five minutes to fill in our very brief survey: Click Here


We are still gathering all of the powerpoints and handouts from the speakers. Many are available already, so please check the website for videos, slides and notes.

These will keep appearing as more is sent to us, so please visit again in a week or so…

Feel free to share the links with colleagues in your deaneries. We have tried to make this easy to do, by posting material on the website, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. The links for these can be found below…

Help us tell the story

We know that many people found the weekend helpful and will be writing reports for their dioceses, archdeaconries, deaneries, and parishes. If you are one of these people, please send your report in so we can use it on the NDN website. We would really appreciate your reflections, and it will help us to tell the story of the conference…

I was able to speak to a few people at the conference about our desire to build the network up so that it’s not just an event every two years. We would like to make it possible for people to share ideas, news and stories throughout the year. To do this, we need your input, so if you have anything that you could share, please send it in. Just email your news to us

It would be great if you could also encourage others to join the National Deaneries Network. People can sign up by following this

We hope to send regular emails keeping you up to date on the work of the Network. You can help by sending us news or stories from your area. Please contact us by email or Facebook.

The Next Conference…

The next conference has already been booked for the Hayes Conference Centre between 5th and 7th October 2018. We aren’t taking bookings yet, but you may wish to put it in your diary…

The Organising Group

The Organising Group will be meeting again in December. If you have any ideas for things that we should do or discuss, please drop us a line.