At the end of the year, John Dentith will retire as Church Buildings Officer/DAC Secretary, a post he has held for over 16 years. When making changes to their church buildings, all parishes need to apply to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Church Buildings (DAC) for a permission known as a Faculty, and during his time in post, John has been there to advise, guide and support parishes.

John said: “In July 2001, I had taken early retirement from working at a bank and a friend at church, John Bailey, who happened to be Vice Chair of the DAC, knew I was looking for something to do with my time. He suggested me to the Diocesan Secretary, Robert Higham, who asked whether I might help out as DAC Secretary for a couple of months while they advertised the role. In the end it was advertised in July 2002, when I applied and was fortunate enough to be given the job permanently after interview in October. In fact it was John Bailey who really mentored me through the first few years – although I’d been a churchwarden so had some experience of buildings, it was still a steep learning curve!”

“On the whole I have loved the job. I’ve really enjoyed working with volunteers in parishes – people who are dedicated to looking after their churches. It’s been a privilege to help them along the way. I hope I’ve also helped to make the DAC a bit more friendly and approachable. There’s always been this rumour that the DAC says no a lot, and it’s been my mission to challenge that. In fact we recommend around 98% of the work that comes through to us. Members of the DAC will go out and do site visits, and by working on the application together with the parish there’s a very high likelihood that it will be successful.”

“On the Diocesan Advisory Committee is an array of talented people, all of whom are there as volunteers giving up their time to help the Church. It’s a real buzz meeting with people who are sometimes national experts in their field! Taking on the role was one of the best things I ever did and definitely feel that God was in the decision somewhere. It’s also endorsed and enriched my faith. After a long career in the commercial banking industry, it was a huge difference working in a Christian culture.”

“However, I’ve had a feeling for a while that now is the right time to go. A number of changes are coming in and it’ll be good to have a new person in post to steer them through. And I’m looking forward to having a rest after working for 49 years! Although I’ll be looking for something to occupy my time, I’ll also be looking after my wife and helping to child-mind my granddaughter, so I’m going to practise saying ‘no’ so I don’t end up taking on something else!”

If you would like to contribute to a leaving gift for John, please send donations to Alison Vincent, Office Manager at the Diocesan Office (cheques payable to Worcester Diocesan Board of Finance).