Bishops of Islington and Edmonton appointed

Downing Street has today announced the appointments of two new Bishops in the Diocese of London. The Revd Rob Wickham, Hackney Area Dean and Rector of St John at Hackney, is to become the new Bishop of Edmonton and the Revd Ric Thorpe, the Bishop of London’s Adviser for Church Planting and Rector of St Paul’s Shadwell, is to become the new Bishop of Islington. In addition, the Bishop of London has confirmed that Prebendary John Hawkins will become the new Archdeacon of Hampstead.


Commenting on the three senior appointments, the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO, said:


“Rob brings to the London team an enormous amount of experience and, in his eight years in Hackney, he has helped to provide a distinctive Christian contribution to the regeneration of his community. He will be well supported by John as Archdeacon of Hampstead, who has already experienced serving in an archidiaconal role in the area. They will form a highly effective partnership when they take up their roles in the autumn.


“As Bishop of the revived See of Islington, Ric will expand on his important work to date, supporting those involved in new Christian ventures, as well as applying the lessons learned for pioneers in training. He will harvest and share experience of church growth strategies as well as supporting people beyond the Diocese who are interested in the London experience.”


Rob Wickham has served as Rector at St John at Hackney since 2007, becoming Area Dean of Hackney in 2014. His work has put him at the forefront of re-energising the Church in the area, engaging with the local community to support and contribute to the extensive regeneration of Hackney.


As Bishop of Edmonton, Rob will oversee an area of the Diocese of London that covers the four north London Boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield and Haringey with a population of around 1,144,000.


Commenting on his appointment, the Revd Rob Wickham said:


“North London, and the Edmonton Area, contains people, places, churches and communities of great energy, diversity, challenge and opportunity, and I am privileged, and slightly daunted, to be returning to the Area to serve as Bishop. I look forward to praying with, listening to and learning from each of our communities, as the Spirit of God leads, and I pray that we shall all work together to build the Kingdom of God in this exciting part of London.”


Rob will be supported by John Hawkins in his new role as the Archdeacon of Hampstead. John is currently Vicar of St John’s Hendon and has been Bishop’s Missioner at King’s Cross London since 2013 when he was also made a Prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral.


Commenting on his new appointment Prebendary John Hawkins said:


“I am delighted to be working alongside fellow archdeacons in the Diocese of London at this very exciting time. This is a wonderful city to be living and working in and there is so much that the church contributes through its brilliant clergy, who I will endeavour to support and encourage as they seek to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and participate in his mission in our city.”


Ric Thorpe will serve in the revived role of the Bishop of Islington, a position vacant since 1923. He will focus on supporting newly established worshipping communities in the Diocese of London as well as serving as a resource for the wider Church of England.


The Diocese of London’s strategy for growth and development, Capital Vision 2020, sets out a target of creating 100 new worshipping communities within the Diocese by 2020. Drawing on his extensive experience of church planting, Ric will support this strategic priority, working with clergy who are ministering in new areas in the Diocese, providing support and mentorship where needed and capturing and sharing successful church growth strategies. Ric will also be a resource for the whole Church of England as it pursues a wider programme of growth, drawing on the experience gained in the Diocese of London.


The Revd Ric Thorpe commented:


“The Church is growing in the London Diocese, and church planting has played a significant part in our story. It is a huge privilege to be called to serve as a new bishop in the Diocese with a special focus on planting and growing churches so that we can reach more of the people of this great world city with the good news of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that God will continue to guide us to new places, in new ways, and give us boldness to proclaim this good news in our generation.”


Ric will also contribute to the new School of Church Growth in association with the staff of St Mellitus theological college, both in London and at its hub in Liverpool.


The Archbishop of Canterbury will consecrate Rob Wickham as the new Bishop of Edmonton on 23 September in Canterbury, alongside the Bishops of Kensington and Maidstone. The Archbishop will consecrate Ric Thorpe as the new Bishop of Islington in St Paul’s Cathedral on 29 September. John Hawkins will begin serving as the new Archdeacon of Hampstead in the autumn.


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