24 November 2020 – the Queen has approved the appointment of the Venerable Gavin Collins, Archdeacon of the Meon, as the next Bishop of Dorchester.
Due to lockdown restrictions, the Bishop of Oxford is announcing the news at an online meeting to be streamed from Dorchester Abbey with over 100 civic leaders and local clergy in attendance. The online announcement will be followed by a visit to St Mary’s Church in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire later today, where volunteers are supporting over 200 families during lockdown through an initiative called Mary’s Meals.
Responding to today’s announcement, Gavin said; “I am thrilled and humbled to have been invited to serve as the next Bishop of Dorchester and look forward to joining the Diocese of Oxford in the New Year. It will be a privilege to work and worship alongside the people of these churches as, together, we serve the communities of Oxfordshire.”
Gavin is one of the convenors of the Evangelical Forum on Synod and has served as a trustee of Latin Link mission agency and of the London School of Theology. He is deeply committed to the mission and growth of the Church; “My priorities in ministry have always been to enable the church to grow in unity, in confidence, in numbers and in the depth of our experience of the love of God.
Gavin, 53, was educated in Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He then worked as a solicitor in the City of London before training for ministry at Trinity College Bristol. Having grown up in Sussex, Gavin is a life-long and active supporter of Brighton and Hove Albion, which he says, proves he is a person of great faith.
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft said; “I am delighted that Gavin has accepted the invitation to be the next Bishop of Dorchester. Gavin is known for his warmth and approachability, and he is passionate about the mission of the church. He’s experienced in bringing churches, local authorities and civil society organisations together for the good of all, and is clear about the issues rural communities and towns face. I am very excited about what Gavin’s appointment means for the Diocese of Oxford.”
The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, said; “Along with the whole of the Diocese of Portsmouth, and especially the Meon archdeaconry, I am delighted that the Diocese of Oxford will enjoy the leadership and service of Gavin Collins as the next Bishop of Dorchester. He and Christina will bring their many gifts, including friendship and generosity, to the mission of the gospel in parishes, chaplaincies and communities.”
The Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Tim Stevenson OBE, said; ““Our population has been brought together by the current crisis, and I’m proud to say that it excelled itself in the first wave of the pandemic, specifically through the remarkable work of volunteers, who have been supported by the Church. This has been a communal effort that has crossed religious and ethnic borders in a county that has always had a strong focus on interfaith cooperation and support. We know that this journey is far from over in terms of the long-term consequences of COVID-19, but I am confident that the support that the Venerable Gavin Collins, Bishop Designate, will be able to offer our local communities will be hugely important in the difficult times ahead.”
Gavin will succeed the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher who retired from the role in November. He will be consecrated on 28 January.