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Archdeacon to retire after 40 years of service duncan.

I have personally always spoken of those of homosexual origin as needing to have a proper place in the Church.

The Ven John Duncan


Religious Affairs Reporter

After 40 years working in the city, the Archdeacon of Birmingham has decided to retire next year.

The Ven John Duncan announced that he is planning to retire in January 2001, and is currently working to set his affairs in order before he leaves.

As well as his work within the Church, which included being a member of the Synod for ten years, the Archdeacon was made an MBE in 1991 for his 35 years' work for the voluntary housing sector.

He was also never afraid to speak his mind on other social matters, from homosexuality to nuclear disarmament.

Mr Duncan is now hoping to see a number of major church building works within the diocese on course for completion before his retirement, including the renovation of St Martin's in the Bull Ring.

Explaining his decision to leave, the archdeacon said: 'I'm two years past retirement and I need to think of what I'm going to do with the last bit of my life.

'Having been archdeacon for 16 years it's time to hand the baton to someone else.'

Mr Duncan came to Birmingham in November 1962 where he began his curacy with St Peter's, Springhill. He then became chaplain at the University of Birmingham from 1965 to 1976. He was made honorary canon of Birmingham Cathedral before becoming archdeacon in 1985.

He has held an integral role in the Synod while the Anglican Church has witnessed a number of forward-thinking moves, including the appointment of women priests.

But he believed that one of the Church's biggest sticking points, and one of the biggest challenges it has yet to face, is its acceptance of homosexuality.

The archdeacon said: 'I have always had concern for the Church being an inclusive body and have personally always spoken of those of homosexual origin as needing to have a proper place in the Church and not to be the victims of negative reaction to them.

'Regretfully I think there is a strong body of opposition which seems to be resistant to these matters.

In contemplating the remaining months before his retirement, Mr Duncan played down his accomplishments.

He said: 'I'm not highly into achievement. People are overvalued by achievement.

'The job of the archdeacon is much related to dealing with issues as they arise. You are not in control and anything could happen.'

The Bishop of Birmingham, the Right Rev Mark Santer, said: 'I shall miss John as a great character, as well as a colleague. He will be hard to replace.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 7, 2000
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