Downing Street has announced that the Ninth Bishop of Liverpool is to be the Right Reverend Doctor John Perumbalath. Bishop John will join us from the Diocese of Chelmsford, where he has served as Bishop of Bradwell since 2018. He follows Bishop Paul Bayes who retired in February 2022.
Bishop John comes from the ancient Christian community in Kerala, South India and was ordained into the Church of North India in 1994. He moved to the UK in 2001 taking up positions in the Diocese of Rochester. Bishop John then served as Archdeacon of Barking before becoming the Bishop of Bradwell in 2018.
Amongst other roles, Bishop John is the Chair of Churches Refugee Network of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. He is the Church of England’s Lead Bishop on Churches Together in Britain and Ireland relations and a trustee of CTBI. He chairs Christians Aware, an educational charity and serves on the Anglican Communion-wide Advisory Group of USPG, an Anglican mission society. The Bishop lectures widely on faith and social engagement and in Biblical theology.
Bishop John demonstrates the influence of the evangelical, Anglo-Catholic and Oriental Orthodox traditions that shaped his theology and contributed to his formation and follows a Benedictine framework of spirituality. He has served in catholic and evangelical parishes and has been known as a unifying leader in situations of conflict.
Bishop John is married, with one adult daughter. He is a keen walker and enjoys reading poetry and novels from various parts of the world.
Bishop John says “I am delighted and humbled to have received this call to be the next Bishop of Liverpool. I have come to love Liverpool through my numerous visits when my daughter was in university here for six years. I look forward to becoming part of the vibrant and diverse communities served by the Diocese of Liverpool.
“We have many challenges ahead of us both in the church and society. A pandemic has shattered human confidence and a cost-of-living crisis is staring us in the face. Anxiety, fear, and anger take many forms in such a context.
“As a follower of Christ coming to lead a diocese that aspires to be a bigger church to make a bigger difference, I want to proclaim and live out a message of hope, peace, and justice. I pray that I will lead a church that is faithful in offering our communities the hope that we have in God, serving the communities by working together well and in partnership with others.
“The good news in Jesus Christ breaks all barriers and boundaries and is always welcoming and inclusive. I am excited about leading God’s people out to proclaim this good news in words and deeds in a new context and to love and care for those I serve.”
Welcoming the appointment Bishop Bev, The Bishop of Warrington said: “Bishop John is an excellent appointment to our diocese and his wisdom and grace will help guide us as we continue to seek to be fit for mission asking God for a bigger church to make a bigger difference. I look forward to welcoming him and Jessy and working alongside him in our diocese,”
The Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell added: “It is a huge joy to be welcoming John Perumbalath as the next Bishop of Liverpool. John is a person of huge vision and integrity, a biblical scholar, a champion for justice, a loving pastor and a humble and good-humoured disciple of Jesus Christ.
“Strengthened by his care and leadership, the Liverpool diocese will continue to be a bigger church striving to make a bigger difference. Building on the courageous example of previous Bishops of Liverpool, John will be a new and compelling voice for the Christian faith in the Liverpool Diocese, across the north and in the life of our nation.”
The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani said: “Bishop John has made a hugely significant contribution to the life of our Diocese as Bishop of Bradwell and before that as Archdeacon of Barking. I have very much enjoyed getting to know him and serving alongside him since I became Bishop of Chelmsford.
“His leadership in the life of the wider church has also been highly valued during his time in our diocese, particularly as a member of the College of Bishops and more recently the House of Bishops, and as Chair of the Churches Refugee Network for Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, and during the period in which he served as Chair of the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns.
“His appointment is good news for the Diocese of Liverpool and the Church of England, and I offer John my warm congratulations. But of course, we will miss him in Chelmsford Diocese and particularly on the Bishop’s Leadership Team and in the parishes and the worshipping communities of the Bradwell Episcopal Area. We will be praying for him and for his wife as he prepares for this next step in his ministry.”
Bishop John is expected to be installed in Liverpool Cathedral in a special service early next year. Until that time Bishop Bev, the Bishop of Warrington will remain as Acting Bishop of Liverpool.