Revd Rick Simpson to be next Archdeacon of Auckland. (Picture: Keith Blundy)

The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham is pleased to announce that the Revd Rick Simpson (51) of St Brandon’s, Brancepeth has been appointed as the next Archdeacon of Auckland following the retirement of the Venerable Nick Barker in July.

In his new role, Rick will be responsible for the Archdeaconry covering the southern part of the Diocese which includes Stockton & Darlington on its southern boundary, Teesdale & Weardale in the North and West and then across Bishop Auckland. He will also take the lead on interim ministry in the Diocese, initially assisting the new Priest in Charge at Holy Trinity & St Cuthbert Darlington.

Commenting on his new appointment Rick said: “I am hugely excited to have been appointed Archdeacon of Auckland. In the Church of England as a whole and in the Diocese of Durham this is a time of real challenge, but also great opportunity. I look forward very much to joining Bishop Paul and his Leadership Team, and working alongside the members and leaders of our churches, as we try together to ensure that all we do in worship, mission and ministry celebrates and shares the love and blessing of God.”

Bishop Paul said: “I am delighted that we are able to announce Rick as the new Archdeacon of Auckland, his work over the last ten years with the training of curates and his leadership of St Brandon’s, Brancepeth in this Diocese made him an ideal candidate for the role. I am very much looking forward to working with him in his new capacity and to his input in helping shape the future of mission and ministry across our churches in Auckland Archdeaconry and the wider Diocese.”

Rick has worked with curates and their training incumbents (vicars with responsibility for supervising and mentoring curates), for both Durham and Newcastle Dioceses, for the last ten years. This job has involved running a four-year programme of training events and offering support to clergy colleagues throughout the curacy process. He has also contributed to other dioceses and nationally on developing good practice in ministerial training and continuing development.

During this time Rick has also been the Priest-in-Charge of St Brandon’s, Brancepeth, where he and the congregation have worked well together to develop a shared approach to mission and ministry, releasing the gifts and skills of church members alongside those of the clergy.

Prior to this, Rick served for ten years in the parishes of Holy Trinity, Jesmond, and St Barnabas and St Jude, Newcastle. Holy Trinity experienced an exciting time of growth in its numbers and its mission. Rick had also served his curacy in Newcastle Diocese, at St. Gabriel’s Heaton.

Rick enjoys nature and wildlife, films, novels, music and sport.He is married to Dr Rachel Lunney, a GP; they celebrated their silver wedding last year.

Rick will be installed into his new post during Evensong at Durham Cathedral on 11th February 2018.


  1. The role of Archdeacon is a senior appointment in the Church of England providing leadership of a subdivision of the Diocese. The role is designated with the title ‘The Venerable’.
  2. The Diocese is subdivided into three Archdeaconries: Auckland, Durham and Sunderland each lead by an Archdeacon and forming the part of the Bishop of Durham’s leadership team.
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