Rev Phil Saltmarsh appointed Bishop’s Planning Officer

Phil joins a team which gives advice and support to deaneries and parishes on pastoral reorganisation and other planning matters.

Having previously worked in Kensington, a larger single parish in the inner city as Vicar and now in Speke an outer estate parish as the Rector, Phil has experienced first hand how the people of God can be released into exciting mission opportunities which bring about real growth and transformation for church communities, especially where resources are limited.

Both of the parishes he has worked in, are very different contexts and church traditions and so he brings an understanding of the need to honour the identity of congregations and to allow them prayerfully, to work through what their future might look like as they work with the Deanery, Arch Deacon, Bishop’s Planning Officer and Diocese towards the Bishops Growth Agenda.
“The most important skill I believe I can bring to this role is to listen; listen to the story that will be unique to each parish; listen to hopes and fears of laity and clergy and together listen for God’s voice and where he is leading each Parish and Deanery across the Diocese.”

Recognising that any change brings opportunities, challenges and conflict both pastoral and some legal, the Bishop’s Planning Officer Team seeks to ensure that any changes made by Parishes are done so in line with the Mission and Pastoral Measure, which provides the legal basis for structural and organisational changes. In line with the Diocesan ‘Making it Easier’ agenda they also seek to support churches to be more effective in mission and ministry, whilst balancing needs and resources.  

Phil joins a team which has a wealth of experience, wisdom and skill, including Kim Stanley, Mission & Pastoral Officer, Rev Sarah Peppiatt, Assistant BPO and Rev Glyn Thomson, Assitant BPO. Ricky Panter, Acting BPO will continue to support Phil during a transition period over the summer.

Despite being an experienced priest Phil was not certain when his name was put forward for this role. “Following people like Simon Fisher with his detailed knowledge of ecclesiastical law and Ricky Panter and his depth of experience as Archdeacon is daunting”

Phil told us “God very clearly spoke to me through scripture and reminded me that he will fill us with his spirit and equip us for His service. Exodus 31:1-7 was especially powerful for me, when God tells Moses that in preparing the Tent of Meeting, he will fill Bezalel and Oholiab with spiritual gifts, ability and knowledge to complete the work”

My hope is that as we seek to understand what it means to be a bigger church, making a bigger difference where we are, that we will all receive the spiritual gifts we need to be bold in mission and to proclaim the Gospel afresh to the next generation, so that we will have more people knowing Jesus and more justice in the world.