New Interim Co-Area Deans for City Deanery Announced


First published 16th December 2020

Image of LizzieImage of David The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Rev’d Vivienne Faull, is pleased to announce that Rev’d Lizzie Kesteven and Rev’d David Stephenson will be the Interim Co-Area Deans for the Bristol City Deanery.

Rev’d Lizzie Kesteven and Rev’d David Stephenson will take over from the current Area Dean Rev’d Canon Dr Rod Symmons to be the new Interim Co-Area Deans for the Bristol City Deanery. Lizzie has been incumbent of the two Parish Churches of All Saints and St Mary’s, Fishponds, for seven years, and David has been vicar of St Paul’s Clifton and Cotham Parish Church since September 2018.

In the Diocese of Bristol there are a total of seven deaneries, each led by an Area Dean. The Bristol City Deanery draws together 24 parishes and communities and spreads from Filton in the north to Barton Hill in the south and from Cotham in the west to Fishponds in the east. In the heart of Bristol, it is an exciting place to be a follower of Christ. 

Together, Lizzie and David’s co-leadership will enable the development of the Deanery and its leadership in the year that the Diocese begins Transforming Church, the process to discern the next vision and priorities for the Diocese from 2020 and beyond. Crucially, they will be sharing the leadership responsibility as the churches in the City Deanery continue to navigate the challenges of Covid-19.

Rev’d Lizzie Kesteven and Rev’d David Stephenson said: 

“We’re excited about this opportunity to work together and grow the Deanery Leadership Team in a year of transition and transformation in City Deanery. 

“Across the diverse communities and churches of the Deanery we look forward to strengthening our common prayer and mutual support as we seek to be living signs of God’s heart in the heart of our city." 

The Right Rev’d Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, said of the appointment:

“This is indeed an exciting time to see new leadership in City Deanery and I am grateful for Lizzie and David agreeing to take the role on. There are so many good things happening in City Deanery and as we seek to discern what God is calling us to through the work of Transforming Church, our task is to build on all that is good so we may better serve our communities, bringing the light and joy of Christ to all.  

“With their diverse and complementary skills, I am confident that David and Lizzie will prayerfully help the Deanery navigate the future that lies ahead. In turn, I will be praying for them as they take on this new responsibility.”

About the new Interim Co-Area Deans

Rev’d David Stephenson

Image of DavidDavid has been vicar of St Paul’s Clifton and Cotham Parish Church since September 2018. Before that he was vicar of All Saints West Dulwich in Southwark and Area Dean of Lambeth South, and for the final three months of his time in South London was acting Archdeacon of Lambeth. While at All Saints David was actively involved in the life of L’Arche London. 

Back in the 80’s David read Sociology at The University of Bristol, and went, as a Bristol Ordinand, to train for ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham. He served two curacies and his first incumbency in urban estates parishes in the Diocese of Durham. In both Durham and Southwark, David was a Vocations Adviser and continues to be passionate about encouraging people to respond to God’s call. 

David is married to Jo who works for the Diocese of Bristol, and they have three children, Beth (25) Jake (22) and Hannah (18). David enjoys all things Bristol, including LHG beer, Massive Attack and Clifton Coffee Roasters. His tastes and interests are as ‘ecumenical’ as his theology.

Rev’d Lizzie Kesteven

Image of Lizzie Lizzie has been incumbent of the two Parish Churches of All Saints and St Mary’s, Fishponds, for seven years. Prior to that, Lizzie served as curate at Saint Paul’s Southville and St Augustine’s in Whitchurch with Canon Nick Hay in the South of Bristol. She served a first curacy for several years in Bristol City Centre at St Stephen’s Church, also in the City Deanery. Lizzie was ordained twelve years ago in 2008. 

She originally comes from Newbury in Berkshire and studied Law as her first degree at Newcastle University. After this she became a verger and then shortly afterwards Head Verger at Bristol Cathedral. In 2005 she was selected for training and spent three years of formation at St Stephens House Oxford.

Lizzie has a passion for parish-based ministry and has loved serving in different ways, lay and ordained, across the city of Bristol and various deaneries.

Lizzie is married to Simon who is a secondary school teacher of history and sociology at a local comprehensive. They have three children, Saul 15, Rachel 12 and Ellie 9. She loves walking and talking, and also enjoys running in her spare time for fun and for head space, as well as spending time with friends and family when possible. Highly competitive she is a sharp card hand and likes to think of herself as a bit of a pool fiend.