Suffolk teen thought to be youngest churchwarden in England
A church in Suffolk has appointed the youngest churchwarden in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and potentially, in the country.
Ben Jenkins, 19, was elected to the office of churchwarden at St Nicolas church during the annual parochial meeting in December.
Churchwardens play a vital role in caring for the church building as well as working closely with the clergy to support the life of the church community. It's one of the oldest elected posts in the world, dating back to at least the 13th century.
The Bishop of Dunwich, Rt Rev Mike Harrison, together with the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Rt Rev Martin Seely, welcomed the appointment of Jenkins at a special service held at St Nicolas' Church, Stanningfield near Bury St Edmunds recently.
Bishop Mike said: "Ben discussed his growing sense of vocation to serve as a churchwarden with his parish priest and discerned a call to serve the community in this way. I am delighted that Ben has taken on this role.
"More and more young people are coming forward to serve in a variety of roles within the life of the Church and this is a great example of that happening here in Suffolk."
Bishop Martin Seeley, added: "It's wonderful to see young people coming forward to serve their churches and communities. I am so grateful that people of all ages in our churches give of their time and talent, and we could not serve our Suffolk communities without them."
Commenting on his new role Jenkins said: "The church is a really important part of community life in rural areas and I want to ensure this continues. Lots of young people my age volunteer with different organisations. I felt called to make a difference in my local church and community."