DOWNING Street have announced this morning (the new bishop to lead Sussex as the The Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner, currently Suffragan Bishop of Whitby in the Diocese of York.
Dr Warner, 53, will be the 103rd Bishop of Chichester and he succeeds The Right Reverend John Hind, who retired last month.
The Diocese of Chichester was founded in 1070 and essentially covers the area of East and West Sussex and the City of Brighton and Hove reaching a population of over 1.5metres.
The Diocese has over 500 churches and enjoys overseas links with Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Guinea (West Africa).
Dr Warner studied at St Chad’s College in Durham before completing his theological training at St Stephen’s House, Oxford.
He was ordained deacon (1984) and priest (1985) in Exeter Cathedral whilst working as Curate of St Peter’s Plymouth.
He moved north to the Midlands in 1988 to be Team Vicar for five years in the Parish of the Resurrection, Leicester before being elected to be the Priest Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham between 1993-2002. During his time in Norfolk he was also priest in charge of Hempton and Pudding Norton between 1998-2000. He was appointed Honorary Canon of Norwich between 2000-2002.
Dr Warner was then appointed as a residentiary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, firstly as Canon Pastor and latterly Treasurer where he made a big contribution particularly with regards to the Cathedral’s connection with the art world (2003-2010).
He was elected as suffragan Bishop of Whitby in the Diocese of York in 2010 and has served the parishes of the Cleveland archdeaconry which includes the contrasting communities of Middlesbrough and much of the North Yorkshire Moors.
Dr Warner is a regular contributor to the Church Times and has written five books.
He is a cyclist, enjoys the arts and is well known for his hospitality and welcome – an art he perfected when welcoming thousands of pilgrims to England’s Nazareth, as Walsingham is known.
Dr Warner is a traditionalist who has worked resolutely in recent years to encourage provision in which people of all integrities can remain together. He worked closely with women priest colleagues at St Paul’s Cathedral and has sought to serve with equal care the ordained men and women in his episcopal patch in the north of England.
Bishop Warner said today: “It is a daunting and exciting challenge to be asked to serve the people of Sussex as the next Bishop of Chichester.
“I look forward very much to learning more about the mission in which we shall be engaging together, though it will be a big wrench leaving the North East so soon.”
Colleagues around the Anglican Church have been welcoming the news.
The Right Revd Mark Sowerby, The Acting Bishop of Chichester, said: “I am delighted that Dr Martin Warner, whom I have known for many years, is to be the new Bishop of Chichester.
“I believe that he will lead us with the effervescent energy and clarity that has always been distinctive of his ministry and I very much look forward to working alongside him in the service of the Church and people of Sussex.”
The Very Revd Nicholas Frayling, the Dean of Chichester, said: “These are challenging times for the Church and for its Bishops. The Dean and Chapter and all at the Cathedral look forward to welcoming Bishop Martin and assure him of our prayers and good wishes as he prepares for his new ministry in Chichester.”
The Reverend Alastair Cutting, Chair of the House of Clergy, said: “We’re excited to welcome Bishop Martin as our new Bishop: he brings a deep commitment to the breadth of the C of E, with a track-record of drawing together a wide spectrum of theological views and positions. He loves cinema, art, and architecture; and is a gifted communicator with dynamism and personality. He’s a keen supporter of mission and community engagement; and we look forward to his leadership across the Chichester Diocese.”
Brian Hanson CBE, Chair of the House of Laity, said today: “We welcome Bishop Martin who comes with a reputation as a fine preacher and teacher of the Faith. His experience, both as a canon of St Paul’s Cathedral and as a bishop of an area with large conurbations and tracts of countryside, will be a great assistance to him in his future ministry in East and West Sussex and the City of Brighton and Hove.”
Article contributed by The Diocese of Chichester
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