In recent weeks we've said farewell to two 'big beasts' of the Diocesan Office team; Jon Cook and Jo Beacroft-Mitchell.

As Transformation & Strategy Programme Manager since 2016 it fell to Jon Cook to bring a wealth of experience in industry and the charity sector to help the Diocese focus its thinking in a fast-changing world. The Church of England, through the General Synod, had agreed a huge shift in the way that its historic resources would be shared around the dioceses, with the emphasis changing from simple support to encouraging and resourcing strategic plans to address specific challenges. Jon's analytic brain has been crucial in bringing focus to the way this process works in the Diocese of York; as he retires his legacy includes the successful launch of our 'Multiply' (originally 'reaching those in their twenties to forties'), 'Mustard Seed' (originally 'reaching people in poverty') and Generous Giving & Stewardship (stemming from our commitment 'to achieve sustainable finances) projects.

Camera-shy Jon's patience, diligence, flexibility, faith and good (though sometimes off-the-wall) humour will be a big miss, and his successor will have big shoes to fill. We wish Jon and Pamela good health and happiness in their home and the garden in which Jon loves to wield some fearsome power tools.

Jo Beacroft-Mitchell arrived in 2018 from the Diocese of Leeds (and previously Wakefield) to lead our brand-new Generous Giving and Stewardship team, bringing experience of fundraising and stewardship from the church, charities and the corporate world. Her team of three hit the road running and found that the task of re-igniting a culture of generous discipleship in the Diocese of York was perhaps more onerous than first envisaged, due to the Diocese having given a lower emphasis to this dimension of its family life for some years. Jo and her colleagues rolled up their sleeves and addressed the situation as they found it; the growing take-up of resources, teaching materials and technical know-how by parishes seeking to achieve sustainable finances of their own is a testament to the determination and talent of the team Jo has led.

Jo's robust, faithful and hilarious approach to life will make hers a hard act to follow; while we work to determine the future shape of the Generous Giving Team and look for a new promoter for the Diocesan Office 'Strictly' sweepstake, we wish her well in her new role with HeartEdge as part of their new development team with a focus on congregation and compassion.

"Heartedge is on a journey of discovery as to how we build God's Kingdom together and I can't wait to join the new team and meet loads more amazing churches working out how to strengthen the church where they are," said Jo.