When Christopher Skilton retires early next year after nearly 40 years as a clergyman, 15 spent working in Croydon churches, he says that he hopes one of the things he will be remembered for is working to a motto of “I won’t go away and I’ll stick with you”.
One of the Church of England’s most senior clerics in Croydon since 2012, Archdeacon Skilton has worked with the Bishop of Croydon in resourcing and supporting parish clergy and congregations in their work in church and in the community. “Anything from advice and help with the building, to developing five-year goals and plans,” Skilton told Inside Croydon this week. “From appointing a new priest to offering pastoral support when the going gets tough.”
Skilton and his wife will be retiring to West Sussex. “We will leave south London with many happy memories believing that the church is in good heart and with good leadership for the future.
“By early 2020, I will have been ordained as a member of the clergy in the Church of England for just over 39 years. The first 23 of those were as a parish priest (eight of them in Sanderstead) and since 2004 as archdeacon first in Lambeth and then for the last seven years in Croydon.
“The most satisfying aspect of the work of archdeacon is seeing problems resolved that will help the local church to fulfil its mission and work locally – whether that’s been helping to secure funding to get a local project going, enabling one of the clergy to develop their skills in a particular area of work or enthusing a parish to try something new.
“The message of all of this is that it’s often the first step or the next step that has made a difference to how things are for people – it may be little in itself, but part of something far bigger.
“And the challenges are usually around those intractable problems that won’t go away and must be worked through or worked round.
“I hope that one of my mottos has been, ‘I won’t go away and I’ll stick with you’. This all stems from my fundamental belief that in the goodness of God, things can be different.”
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