The Venerable Stuart Bain is stepping down from his role as Archdeacon of Sunderland to become Provost of Sunderland Minster where he will focus on growing its presence in the heart of the City of Sunderland.

After nearly 16 years as an Archdeacon, and more than 37 years of ordained ministry in the Diocese, Stuart (62) felt that it was time to take-stock and to direct his energies where his gifts would have the maximum benefit for the community.

Originally from Newcastle, he was ordained in 1980 and has held posts throughout the Diocese becoming Archdeacon of Sunderland in 2002.

He said: “This just felt like the right time to look at how my remaining years of ministry before retirement could be best used to benefit the people and the City of Sunderland. I have been looking after Sunderland Minster for the last year since Sheila Bamber retired to focus on community engagement. Throughout that time, I have felt called to work more closely in the Minster, with its community and to develop its key role at the heart of the City.

“The calling became ever louder over the summer and so in conversation with the Bishop of Durham, I wanted to explore the possibility of stepping back from my wider duties as Archdeacon and to become the full time Canon Provost of Sunderland Minster. Bishop Paul graciously agreed and we are now in discussion to ensure that the transition is as smooth and seamless as possible.”

The Rt Revd, Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham said: “I am delighted that Stuart is going to be the next Provost of Sunderland Minster. He will take all his energies, skills and experience and invest them in a key role at the centre of our Diocese’s largest city; a place where he can lead and help the Minster and City to flourish.”

Although he will step down from being Archdeacon sometime in the spring of 2018, he will continue to Chair the Durham Diocesan Board of Education until the end of his term in late 2018. He will also remain as Chair of the Dayspring Multi Academy Trust and of Wynyard CofE Primary School.

The process to replace Stuart as Archdeacon of Sunderland will begin in due course.