The next Bishop of London

In this month’s Pelican, Rector Alan reflects on the appointment of Rt Revd Sarah Mullally as the next Bishop of London


The long awaited announcement regarding the appointment of the next Bishop of London was made on 18th December and went (in case you missed it) as follows:

‘The next Bishop of London will be the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally DBE, currently Bishop of Crediton, 10 Downing Street has announced today. Bishop Sarah will succeed the Rt Revd and Right Hon Richard Chartres KCVO, who retired as Bishop of London earlier this year. She will be installed as the 133rd Bishop of London at St Paul’s Cathedral in the new year. Bishop Sarah was a senior civil servant in the Department of Health before ordination. A trained nurse, she became Chief Nursing Officer for England in 1999, the youngest person to be appointed to the post. She was ordained in 2001 and served her curacy in St Saviour’s, Battersea Fields, initially as a self-supporting minister, before leaving her Government post in 2004, subsequently taking up full-time ministry in the London Borough of Sutton. Bishop Sarah was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing and midwifery. In 2012 she was installed as Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral, before becoming Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter in 2015, primarily serving North and East Devon. She is a member of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Steering Group.

Sarah Mullally 2

‘Bishop Sarah said: “It is a great honour to be nominated to the See of London. Having lived and worked in London for over 32 years, the thought of returning here is about returning home. I am often asked what it has been like to have had two careers, first in the NHS and now in the Church. I prefer to think that I have always had one vocation: to follow Jesus Christ, to know him and to make him known, always seeking to live with compassion in the service of others, whether as a nurse, a priest, or a bishop. To be given the opportunity to do that now in this vibrant world-city is a wonderful privilege.”’

The appointment of a woman to such a post is a surprising and courageous decision, given the sharp ecclesiastical differences which can be encountered in London; all the more, then, is it to be welcomed. A fascinating, though perhaps unpredictable, period in the life of the diocese lies before us. May God guide our new Bishop as she prepares to take office and to become familiar with the Diocese. Bishop Sarah will also become the next Patron of St Giles-in-the-Fields. Perhaps we will be able to entice her over to meet us at St Giles sometime in 2018.