Former east London priest and current chaplain of St John’s College, Cambridge, the Rev Elizabeth Adekunle has been confirmed as Archdeacon of Hackney. During her time in Cambridge she was a key figure in changes to the welfare structure at St John’s College, where as chaplain she has offered counseling support.
Elizabeth said: “I am very much looking forward to returning to east London, an area which is close to my heart, and to working with and serving the people of Stepney.”
The Bishop of London, the Right Rev Richard Chartres, who made the official announcement, said: “Elizabeth is a hugely gifted priest and I am confident she will make a significant contribution to the area as well as to the policy formation and the life of the Diocese as a whole.”
When she takes up the position in April 2016 she will perform a number of important roles, including supporting clergy and taking responsibility for church buildings, all under the guidance of the Bishop of Stepney, the Right Rev Adrian Newman, who has overall clerical responsibility for the area.
Liz is one of the youngest people to take on the role, which involves a range of responsibilities supporting the churches in the Stepney area of the Diocese of London. Before doing so, however, she will serve two terms covering for the Dean of Chapel’s sabbatical during the 2015/16 academic year. She will also retain a close connection with the College through post graduate study in tandem with her new, London-based role.
The Reverend Duncan Dormor, Dean of Chapel at St John’s, said: “Liz has been an outstanding pastor to the community here at St John’s and a wonderful colleague. I am delighted at this exciting appointment, though she will be very deeply missed by all at St John’s.”
The Rev’d Elizabeth Adekunle duties as the Acting Dean and Chaplain of the College include the pastoral care of the 850 junior members of the College (undergraduates and research students) and staff. She supports the College welfare structures by offering college members a confidential person who will listen to their concerns, help them examine situations, offer advice or give practical help. Elizabeth has no expectation that those who see her will have religious or Christian commitments, all are very welcome and she can be approached on any matter, however personal. As a priest of the Church of England, she is available to discuss religious matters, whether personal or theoretical and to give help and advice in matters spiritual. She also has a role in preparing members of the College for Baptism or Confirmation and is happy to talk through this process with enquirers. She is also a member of the Archbishops’ Task Group on Evangelism.
Elizabeth was born in North London, she read Theology at Birmingham University and went on to do a Masters at SOAS, London University in African Christianity and Development. Whilst training for Ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge she completed a second Masters in Pastoral Care and Counseling. From 2007 to 2010 she served her curacy in the parish of Homerton, Hackney before covering the interregnum in the parish for an additional year. During her curacy, she worked as an on call chaplain at Homerton Hospital and as chaplain at St Mellitus Theological College.
Elizabeth enjoys painting, writing on art and theology, reading and team sports.
She recently presented a program for BBC Radio 4’s series “Something Understood”, musing on the links and tensions between physical and spiritual beauty, poetry and a sense of the Divine. Liz has also written on Art and Theology for Fulcrum online and Country Life Magazine.
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