One of the biggest evangelical networks of churches in the UK has announced its new national leader.
Having worked for the organisation for several years, Rev Rich Johnson will take the role in April.
He is currently part of New Wine’s national leadership team.
Rev Rich’s immediate priorities will be building his national leadership team and oversight of the United 23 summer conferences.
His wife, Kath Johnson, will also be taking a role in the national leadership team, which she will do alongside her role at International Justice Mission (IJM).
Speaking during the New Wine’s National Leadership Conference, Rev Rich said he was thankful for the opportunity.
“I’m feeling very privileged to be asked to do this and thankful for the opportunity and trust that has been put in me.
“Our commitment is to do this together, for Kath and I, New Wine’s churches team… we are all on this together and it is only when we all go for it when we are going to see what we long for and pray for.
“It feels like a huge privilege to pick up the role from Paul and Becky Hartcourt, who are absolute heroes of us, and we’ve absolutely loved serving them.”
The lead vicar of All Saints Worcester will take over from Rev Paul Hartcourt who has led the organisation for the last seven years. He was appointed in 2016 following Rev Mark Bailey’s resignation over a disciplinary matter.
Chair of New Wine’s trustee board, John Coles, paid tribute to Rev Paul’s work, especially during the Covid pandemic which saw New Wine’s summer festivals cancelled.
“Paul, we’ve loved your humble and gracious leadership,” John Coles said.
“This has been a very difficult season for all of us in New Wine as well, with Covid, needing to learn how to go online, the loss of a summer conference, the loss of two venues and the reengineering of the staff because of the financial crisis last year.
“The way that he sow a vision such that people wanted to give financially in order to keep the vision of New Wine going all those things are skills that Paul brought to the table.
“So we are so grateful for you Paul for leading through this time.”
Rev Paul Hartcourt described his time in the post as “the most amazing adventure and honour” and announced he will continue to serve in other leadership roles within the organisation.
“We are not going anywhere. We are not stepping away. We are stepping aside so we can get completely behind Rich and Kath and support the new team in any way that we can.”