Momentum is growing for fulfilling the Diocese’s Goal of ‘Reaching those we currently don’t’.

We are seeking substantial funding from the Church Commissioners to enable us to ‘Reach 20s – 40s’ and our final Bid was submitted on Friday 2nd November; we should know the outcome in early December.

Progress has also been made in appointing a 20s – 40s Team Leader, the Revd John Lee, who will be responsible for day-to-day oversight of the work and will lead a team of 13 full-time 20s – 40s Ministers, placed strategically across the Diocese of York.

John is currently Rector of St Paul's, York, Priest-in-Charge of St Barnabas, York, and Area Dean of York.

He will be joined by Dr Ben Walker as Associate Team Leader, who will oversee the ‘Growth Fund’ making grants possible to enable lay people to lead the creation of New Worshipping Communities.

The new team will be the driving force to build momentum for the goal of 'Reaching those we currently don't', identified as part of the Diocese's strategy development process.

In addition to the new ministers and the Growth Fund, the diocesan approach to reaching 20s – 40s includes the establishment of St Michael-le-Belfrey in York as a Resource Church, and the launch of a web-based Toolbox of resources.

A renewed envisioning and equipping of churches is expected to lead to a ‘ripple effect’ across the diocese through developing insights and growth in confidence about how to reach 20s – 40s and build them up as disciples. It is intended that church planting and replication of effective practice should be established as a norm across the diocese.


John Lee (pictured right) has been Rector of St Paul's, Holgate Rd, York since 2002 and in 2018 took on additional oversight of St Barnabas, Leeman Road, and became Area Dean of York - in effect the convenor of all the Church of England clergy in the City of York.

John began his working life in the pensions industry but spent a couple of years in youth work and ministry to the homeless in Bristol and Leeds before training for ordination. He is married to Nicola who is an artist and they have three grown up daughters.

Ordained in 1990, he served as Curate in Norbiton (south London) and then Leicester before coming to York. He is currently Chair of One Voice York, an umbrella organisation of churches in York who cooperate together in prayer and mission.

Archdeacon Andy Broom leads development of the 20s-40s initiative in the Diocese of York: “I'm very encouraged by John Lee's appointment - he brings the experience of leading a church which has effectively reached and discipled those in this age range and he also has an impressive track record in growing and developing young leaders.”

John Lee said, “I’ve always believed that ministry is fundamentally an adventure and this new role certainly fits that description. It will be a wrench to leave St Paul’s but I’m looking forward to working with the excellent team that’s beginning to form to address this great challenge.”

John will take up his new post in January 2019.

Dr Ben Walker (pictured right) is a Senior Leader at G2 York, an innovative, creative and missional fresh expression of church particularly reaching younger adults; with his wife Holly, Ben is also the Service Leader for G2 City which is one of G2’s two sites.

This role has given Ben invaluable experience in pioneer ministry in the Church of England, and he is also one of the leaders of ‘Grit’, a regular men’s ministry which has focused on growing discipleship for younger adult men.

Ben holds an MPhil in African Studies and a BA in History from the University of Cambridge, and recently completed his PhD in History at the University of York where he is also a Teaching Fellow. Funded by the Wellcome Trust, he conducted original research across the world into Christian mission and healthcare in Ghana since 1919, and he presented his findings in the USA, China and at the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

Ben and Holly both grew up in Leeds, met in a choir at St Aidan’s Church of England High School in Harrogate and now live in York; Holly is currently in the leadership academy of the NHS.