The Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth has appointed a new person to lead Portsmouth’s fastest-growing church.
The Rev Lewis Dean will become the new team rector at Harbour Church, which was originally launched in September 2016 with just 20 people. It now welcomes more than 500 worshippers every Sunday at three different locations across the city.
The Bishop of Portsmouth Rt Rev Jonathan Frost has appointed Rev Dean to lead the team of clergy and volunteers at Harbour Church, which now has congregations in St George’s Church, Portsea; All Saints Church, Commercial Road; and St Alban’s Church, Copnor. It was originally launched in a refurbished department store in Commercial Road with a brief to attract teenagers, students and young adults.
Lewis is currently a curate at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, (HTB) where he’s been since 2020. As part of his curacy, he has had specific roles working with children, youth and students, has led their leadership development programme, led the football ministry and is currently leading Prayer. He’s looking forward to being part of the development of Harbour Church.
“I’d become a Christian at the age of 19 after a life-changing encounter with the Holy Spirit, coming from a background where none of my family were churchgoers,” he said. “At that point in my life, I was manager of a sports centre and, after feeling called into church leadership, then spent five years as a youth pastor in High Wycombe before coming to London. I’ve been so fortunate to be part of HTB, with an amazing team of clergy and volunteers, learning from each other and from God. One of my roles was to help students with their wellbeing, so that was a real privilege.
Harbour Church was created from a church plant from St Peter’s, Brighton – the previous Bishop of Portsmouth invited them to create a new church with a younger age profile. Around 20 worshippers moved their homes and jobs from Brighton to Portsmouth, launching Harbour Church in the first floor of a refurbished department store in Commercial Road in September 2016.
According to the bishop, the church grew so quickly that it started regular Sunday congregations in St George’s Church, Portsea; St Alban’s Church, Copnor; and All Saints Church in Commercial Road. Their four congregations at these three venues have an average age of around 26, with specific services for students and young people on Sunday evenings, and for families on Sunday afternoons.