Our Development Workers

Our Development Workers

Introducing our Together Canterbury Development Workers

Kon Apokis

Kon is Greek by background, but until four years ago, Kon had lived in Australia all his life. He was in parish in the port area of Melbourne for 20 years; one of the most deprived areas of the city. He re-established a declining church in the area, focusing its mission towards directly meeting the needs of the community around them. Just some of the initiatives he established were a youth agency in partnership with the local authority and the Melbourne Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.

Kon suggests that with Australia perhaps being even more secular than the UK, the experience in Melbourne has taught him that you need only a little bit of willingness for things to happen and so he’s looking forward to supporting some real transformation here in east Kent.

In 2010, with his children grown-up, Kon and his wife decided it was now or never, to go on a ‘Godly adventure’ and so they moved to England. Since being in the UK, Kon has worked for the Diocese of Nottingham and Southwell as their Clergy and Training Officer, and also in Sheffield for the Church Army, as their Director of Education and Training.

The couple moved to Rochester last year and Kon is now looking forward to the challenge of the Development Worker post with Together Canterbury.

Kon thinks you need to start with those who are ‘doing it tough’. If you don’t, you never get round to them, and so he’s looking forward to making church communities in east Kent better at prioritising the poor in the way Jesus did.

Contact: Tel: 07834 573 655 / Email: kapokis@diocant.org

 

Keith Berry

Keith comes to the post of Development Worker with a number of years of experience working within churches and on community engagement projects. Hes been part of the community at St Alphege Church in Seasalter for about 10 years, and has been the administrator there for the last two years. He’s also a trustee of the Tankerton Evangelical Church, and has been supporting them as the project manager for their relocation and development plans. 

Keith admits he did not expect to become a Christian. He and his wife went to Seasalter out of a sense of duty to have their twins christened, and expected to have no more involvement after the ceremony. However, they were invited to attend a service the following week, and it felt like the sermon given that day was written just for him. It began his journey into a fuller involvement in the church.

A long-term connection with a school in Guatemala which helps children on the lowest rung of the social ladder has had a huge impact on Keith. He knew a trip out there would challenge and change his life. It was a frightening prospect. He took the plunge and has not looked back, moving forward with a particular focus on the poor.

Keith has personal experience to draw on when it comes to the anxiety and devastation caused by financial troubles, as in 2010 he lost everything he owned due to the failure of his hotel business. His involvement with the school in Guatamala helped him during this period, as the abject poverty experienced over there helped him contextualise his own situation, and understand that whatever he was experiencing, it was not as bad as it could be.

Keith is excited about the challenge ahead and is keen to make churches more visible as centres of their communities. He’s sure that there is a Christian community in every parish that can get engaged with those in need in their area.

Contact: Tel: 07834 573 668 / Email: kberry@diocant.org

Kon Apokis
Keith Berry

@churchurbanfund