A POOLE vicar who is a nationally recognised expert on credit unions is to be the new Archdeacon of Dorset.

The Rev Antony MacRow-Wood is the team rector of the North Poole Ecumenical Team, involving Methodist, United Reformed Church and Baptist, as well as Church of England input, as well as parish priest at St George’s, Oakdale, in the town.

He said: “It is an immense privilege to be asked to become the next Archdeacon of Dorset, and rather like the disciples in this Sunday’s gospel, I’m still a little ‘disbelieving with joy’.

"I’m really looking forward to getting to know the people and clergy of the Archdeaconry and continuing to serve this diocese. These are exciting times for the church and mission will be a particular priority for me.”

Rev MacRow-Wood was brought up in Salisbury and attended Bishop Wordsworth’s School in the city.

His entire ministry has been spent in Wiltshire and Dorset, having served his curacy in Swindon in the 1990s before moving to an eight-year incumbency just outside Weymouth and then to Oakdale in 2004.

Rev MacRow-Wood is a chartered accountant and has served on the Salisbury Diocesan Board of Finance and Bishop’s Council. In 2011 he was elected chair of the Diocesan House of Clergy.

He has a deep involvement in the credit union movement, and was previously president of the Association of British Credit Unions.

Rev MacRow-Wood's expertise on the subject has led to him being interviewed on national television.

He was a key player in setting up the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union, of which he was chair of the project board and is now president.

Archdeacons have a number of functions, prime among them representing their parishes to the Bishop, and the Bishop to the parishes. They also present new ministers for ordination and induct clergy into their parishes, and advise churches on buildings, churchyards, and community outreach.

The Right Rev Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, said: “I am delighted to be able to appoint an Archdeacon with deep experience of the church in Dorset and with the ability to take a leading national role on an issue of vital public interest.

"Antony will also be a key part of my senior staff team, providing strategic leadership to the diocese.”