New leader for Fresh Expressions team

Canon Phil Potter and Bishop Graham Cray (Photo: Norman Ivison/Fresh Expressions)

Canon Phil Potter has been appointed as the Archbishop's Missioner and new team leader of Fresh Expressions.

Fresh Expressions is a movement established by the Church of England and the Methodist Church to pioneer new congregations and churches that appeal to people who have never attended church or those who are not attracted to traditional styles of church.

Canon Potter is set to start as Archbishop's Missioner in April 2014.

He is current Director of Pioneer Ministry for the Diocese of Liverpool and will succeed Bishop Graham Cray, who is retiring from full time ministry after being in the position since 2009.

His appointment has been welcomed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, was "delighted" that Canon Potter will be taking up the post.

He said: "Phil is a skilled and imaginative practitioner whose achievements as a pioneer minister and church builder have been extraordinary."

The chairman of the Board of Fresh Expression is also being replaced by Reverend Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church.

Archbishop Welby added: "I am grateful to God for the growth we have already seen through Fresh Expressions and for the other denominations with whom this ministry is shared.

"I am convinced that the combination of Canon Potter as team leader and Dr Atkins as chairman will be an ideal partnership as we serve God in his mission in this way."

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, also welcomed the new post, saying: "Phil Potter has a strong track record in pioneer ministry in his own Diocese of Liverpool and beyond. He has my full support and will be in my prayers."

The national Fresh Expressions team, which Canon Potter will lead, aims to encourage and support the movement throughout the UK and across the globe.

Commenting on his appointment, Canon Potter called it a "great privilege" to be following in the footsteps of inspirational individuals.

He said: "As well as being a dynamic and effective ecumenical partnership encompassing many denominations and traditions, Fresh Expressions is a movement that is transforming the missional life of so many churches in this country and around the world.

"It is also transforming individual lives by reaching many people who wouldn't normally be reached with the good news of Jesus."

He added: "I'm aware that I follow in the footsteps of inspirational predecessors and I would very much like to pay tribute to the work of Bishop Steven Croft and Bishop Graham Cray.

"I look forward to building on their strong foundations with the help of Fresh Expressions' team members and partners."