Farewells and Hellos for Launde Abbey


Revd Canons David and Helen Newman will be retiring from their posts of warden and chaplain of Launde Abbey in August of this year.

They had been waiting for lockdown to be over in the hope of announcing their news to Launde Abbey staff in person but the extended closure of Launde make that impossible so they are sharing their news more widely now.

Bishop Guli said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with David and Helen and have seen how Launde has thrived under their leadership. They have served the Abbey selflessly, with both wisdom and sensitivity - I have enjoyed their friendship enormously and learned a great deal from them. They will be a great loss but I wish them every blessing as they prepare to move.”

David and Helen have been at Launde Abbey for four years and have enjoyed the opportunity to support people in their spiritual growth and development through leading retreats, courses, quiet days, and spiritual direction. David has had a long experience of pastoral leadership in the church through incumbencies in Derby and Loughborough and was also previously Archdeacon of Loughborough. His first book, Growing up into the Children of God, was published in 2018.

Helen has many years’ experience of pastoral ministry, spiritual direction and supervision. Prior to coming as Chaplain to Launde Abbey she was the lead Chaplain at LOROS, the hospice for Leicestershire and Rutland, and is very committed to helping people find God in times of darkness and struggle. Whilst at Launde Abbey she was also Diocesan Director of Ordinands for a year, and has continued as an Assistant DDO.

David and Helen have three grown up married children and five grandchildren and look forward to spending more time with them.

Announcing their retirement, David and Helen said: “It has been a privilege to serve in this very special place where many people come each year to enjoy the hospitality, experience the beauty, confer with others, and most of all encounter God and go deeper in their relationship with Him.

“The last year has obviously been dominated by lockdowns and closures, and that has been a demanding and anxious time, but even within that we carry the memory of putting our first retreat online last Holy Week and being humbled and amazed at the response of hundreds of people who engaged with it.  The celebration of the 900th anniversary in June 2019 was also a great highlight, with staff and volunteers working together magnificently to deliver a memorable long weekend. But in the end the experience of sharing with pilgrims and retreatants, church leaders and those exploring faith, a brief but often significant moment on their spiritual journey for us has been a hugely rewarding and encouraging gift.”

A new Chair of Trustees for Launde Abbey has also been announced, as Bishop Guli hands over the reins ahead of departure to become the Bishop of Chelmsford later this year.

Jennie Page, a former Chief Executive of English Heritage, and current Chair of the Church Buildings Council, has been appointed by Bishop Martyn as interim Chair of Launde Trustees having become a member of the Board in 2019.

Bishop Guli said: “I’m delighted that Jennie has agreed to take on the role of interim Chair for Launde Abbey’s Board of Trustees. I have known Jennie for a number of years and was so grateful when she agreed to join the Board just a short while ago. Neither of us realised she would be asked to take on more responsibility so soon. Jennie brings with her tremendous experience and expertise in the charity sector and more widely, all of which will be invaluable in this coming phase of Launde Abbey’s life. I will be sad to step down from my role as Chair but am entirely confident that I’m leaving it in excellent hands.”


First published on: 12th February 2021

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