Press Release from Diocese of London

Brixton Community Leader to be new Archdeacon of Hackney


The Rev Canon Dr Lyle Dennen, Vicar of St John the Divine, Kennington and Rural Dean of Brixton is to be the new Archdeacon of Hackney and also Vicar of St Andrew, Holborn Circus. He succeeds the Ven Clive Young who will be consecrated Bishop of Dunwich on June 24th.

Speaking of his appointment the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev & Rt Hon Richard Chartres said:

"I welcome Canon Dennen to the London team. No-one could have more experience of the work of the Church in inner-city areas. His enthusiasm is undimmed and I look forward to our partnership."

After completing a degree at Cambridge and a PhD at Harvard, Canon Dennen prepared for the priesthood at Cuddesdon College in Oxford. He was ordained in 1972. The vast majority of his ministry has been spent in the inner city areas of Brixton and Kennington. He has been Vicar of St John the Divine in Kennington for 21 years during which time he was also Priest-in-Charge of Christ Church, Brixton Road for eight years.

Two major riots in Brixton happened in the early part of his ministry. Since then he has helped to rebuild a sense of community in a parish which has the highest rate of crack cocaine use in the country. He is negotiating a partnership between the Church and Lambeth Council in a major fundraising scheme for Brixton Regeneration and has organised the building of a parish centre with a Youth Project and Social Work Unit. He is committed to the Church's role in education and is Chairman of both St John the Divine Primary School and Charles Edward Brooke Secondary School. He is sought after by both clergy and laity for spiritual direction.

He is married to Xenia, co-founder and Moscow representative of the Keston Institute which studies religion in Eastern Europe and communist countries. They have two children, Richard aged 19 and John aged 17. For recreation Lyle and Xenia race sailing dinghies at sea. Xenia describes it as 'terror therapy'.

The Bishop for Stepney, the Rt Rev Dr John Sentamu said:

"I know Canon Dennen to be a good man of prayer and of good works, with a lively faith that has been tested in the crucible of an inner city parish for 21 years. And as we stand on the threshold of a new Millennium he will assist us all in Stepney never to forget to participate in God's mission and renewal by his immense versatility, attentiveness to detail, firmness with cheerfulness, coupled with a gift of virtuoso improvisation. To all our Urban Priority Area parishes, his fresh grasp of the dynamics of the financial market place will be a great resource. It is with joy and gladness that I look forward to working with him"

Canon Dennen said

"Issues of social justice have always been important to me and I have worked alongside community groups throughout my time in Kennington and Brixton. The Church has an important role in building community and healing wounds. I am proud to have been part of that work in the Diocese of Southwark and am excited about my new work in London's East End."


For further information please contact Canon Dennen: 020-7735 9340

Communications Unit, London Diocesan House, 36 Causton Street, London. SW1P 4AU
Tel: 020-7932 1240/1 Fax: 020-7233 8670 E-mail: