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What is a Bishop's Change Officer?

Learn more about Mike Booker, our Bishop’s Change Officer for Market Towns.

What is the main focus of your job?

I oversee the Changing Market Towns Project. That means spending some time working with the excellent team in the Diocesan Office, but also quite a bit of travelling each week to meet with clergy, lay leaders and the people we have appointed as part of Changing Market Towns in all the small and medium sized towns across the Diocese. We are working actively in half our towns and planning for future investment in all the rest.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

I am a geographer by background, and it has been fascinating to spend much of the early part of my job investigating the towns across the Diocese and trying to understand some of the changes and challenges they are facing. Now I am part of a highly gifted team, both those in central diocesan roles and those working in towns across the Diocese, that is putting plans into action. I am excited to see people committed to making a difference in their towns, and the way new things are springing up as God weaves together new people and skills with the love and involvement of those who have been in the towns for a long time.

What do you find challenging about your role?

The world is changing fast, and churches that focus on carrying on with more of the same are likely to face decline. I can sometimes find myself weighed down by the way this reality can leave congregations feeling disheartened. We are in the business of making a difference, and while that is exciting, it is also a challenge. Sometimes I, and the people I work with, can face an uphill struggle.

How does your role work fit into Ely2025/CMT Strategy?

Market towns are identified as a priority in the Ely2025 strategy. In particular, they are the main locations in which the fifth Lever of Change  - Target Resources to Key Areas - is being expressed.

What brought you to the Diocese of Ely?

I have been in the Diocese for over twenty years, and quite a while before that spent my teenage years in Cambridge. The area really feels like home for me, although my current job has given me a new awareness of, and love for, those parts of our Diocese that are quite a long way from Cambridge.

I couldn’t do my job without ..

The varied and creative combination of people and skills that are Martin, Adam and the rest of the PMO team, together with Janet and Natasha who spend a lot of their time in our towns working alongside people at local level. But, probably even more importantly, I could not do anything at all without the clergy and congregations of our market towns, together with the remarkable people who have joined them as Changing Market Towns outreach workers, operations managers and church planters, plus Lauren who has been growing the Wisbech Learning Community from scratch.

What do you do to relax or have fun?

Relaxing, in the Summer at least, is helped considerably by sitting at the end of my garden and watching kingfishers fly along the River Ouse. Fun (but less relaxation) is provided by four grandchildren of mixed ages but similar high energy levels. I also play the guitar rather badly.

How do people get in touch with you?

My email address is the best contact – I am not always close to the Diocesan Office, but check email wherever I am.


Page last updated: Tuesday 12th November 2019 5:28 PM
First published on: 12th November 2019
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