Church needs to be “inspired by the love of God” says new evangelism chief
The Church of England has appointed the Very Revd Dr Stephen Hance as its new National Lead for Evangelism and Witness.
In this key role, Stephen will be responsible for working with dioceses, churches and other organisations to equip the Church’s million regular worshippers to be a confident witness in every part of their lives and enable a growing Church.
Stephen will also be responsible for a national project to identify, equip and release 1,000 new evangelists in the Church of England by 2025. His appointment emphasises the importance the Church attaches to our commitment to ‘motivate the million.’
Stephen is currently the Dean of Derby, a position he has held since 2017. He was previously the Canon Missioner of Southwark Cathedral and Director of Mission and Evangelism for the Diocese of Southwark from 2013 to 2017. Stephen is founder and convener of the Cathedrals and Growth Network and is a former member of the General Synod.
The Revd Canon Dave Male, Director of Evangelism and Discipleship for the Church of England, said:
“We are very excited that Stephen is joining our Evangelism and Discipleship Team. This is a crucial role in the life of the Church. His wide experience and passion for evangelism will be key in helping ‘to motivate the million’.”
The Revd Canon Chris Russell, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor for Evangelism and Witness, said:
“I am absolutely delighted that Stephen has been appointed to this post. His experience, commitment, and knowledge of the church will be the most wonderful gift – to the new team, to the Church of England and, most importantly to enable God’s people to communicate the gift of the love of Christ to all. I can’t wait to work alongside him.”
Commenting on his appointment, Stephen said: “The Church of England is committed to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in our nation so that all may know of God’s love for them. We understand that we need to refocus our prayer and energy on evangelism and witness so that this can happen. These priorities have been at the heart of my own vocation ever since I was a teenager, and I am thrilled to be joining the Evangelism and Discipleship Team at such a key moment.
“I pray that we may be a church inspired by the love of God and enabled to speak of that love to others.”
Stephen was ordained as a deacon in 1993, and as a priest in 1994. From 1993 to 1996, he served his curacy in the Diocese of Portsmouth. He then served as Team Vicar of St. Saviour's Hanley Road in the Diocese of London before moving to Southwark Diocese in 1999, where he was Vicar of Ascension Balham Hill and then Director of Mission and Evangelism for the Diocese of Southwark.
Stephen will take up his new role at the end of September.