Bishop Mike has welcomed the appointment of Ben Jenkins as Suffolk’s newest and youngest Churchwarden at a special service held at St Nicolas church Stanningfield near Bury St Edmunds recently.
Ben Jenkins, aged 19, was elected to the office of churchwarden at the Annual Parochial Meeting last month, making him the youngest churchwarden Suffolk. Ben is also thought to be the youngest churchwarden in England.
Bishop Mike said, “Ben discussed his growing sense of vocation to serve as a churchwarden with his parish priest and discerned a call to serve the community in this way. I am delighted that Ben has taken on this role. More and more young people are coming forward to serve in a variety of roles within the life of the Church and this is a great example of that happening here in Suffolk.”
He added,“Growing Younger is part of the diocesan aspiration for our congregations across the county and this appointment fits the bill very well!”
Bishop Martin Seeley, added: “It’s wonderful to see young people coming forward to serve their churches and communities. I am so grateful that people of all ages in our churches give of their time and talent, and we could not serve our Suffolk communities without them.”
The office of churchwarden is one of the oldest elected posts in the world, dating back to at least the thirteenth century when each parish would elect wardens responsible for maintaining the church building.
Today, churchwardens play a vital role in the life of a local parish. Not only do they continue to care for the church building but they work closely with the clergy to support the life of the church community. The role is carried out on a voluntary basis.
Commenting on his new role Ben said, “The church is a really important part of community life in rural areas and I want to ensure this continues. Lots of young people my age volunteer with different organisations. I felt called to make a difference in my local church and community.”
The Revd Canon Sharon Potter, Rector of the Cockfield Benefice which includes St Nicolas Stanningfield said, “We were all really encouraged when Ben offered to step forward and take on this responsibility. It is great to see a new generation of churchgoers coming forward to offer their skills and time.”
Picture: Ben Jenkins, middle, pictured with Bishop Mike Harrison right, and Archdeacon David Jenkins, left.