[ACNS] The Archbishop of Canterbury’s chaplain, the Revd Canon Dr Jo Wells, is to become the next Bishop of Dorking in the Church of England’s Guildford Diocese, it was announced today. Dr Wells will assist the Rt Revd Dr Andrew Watson in leading the diocese, and will have a particular responsibility for nurturing nurture vocations and working with the many schools and colleges in the diocese.
Welcoming the appointment, Archbishop Justin Welby said: “During the three years Jo has been at Lambeth Palace her outstanding gifts as a pastor, scholar and strategist have been a huge blessing to me and to the wider Church.
“While serving as my Chaplain with tireless dedication and immense skill, she has, in the grace of God, taken forward my first ministry priority of the renewal of prayer and the religious life.
“Under her oversight, the worshipping life at Lambeth Palace has been transformed, most notably by the arrival of the Chemin Neuf community and the Community of St Anselm.
“All at Lambeth Palace will miss Jo greatly, but we know that the Diocese of Guildford will be blessed richly by her ministry as a bishop.”
Dr Wells began her current role on the day that Archbishop Justin was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral; and so on her first day as chaplain millions of people around the world watched as she carried the primatial cross at the televised service of inauguration.
She has accompanied Archbishop Justin at many events, large and small, including the re-burial of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral; the baptisms of the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte; and the recent Primates’ gathering and meeting in Canterbury.
“I am both honoured and humbled at the prospect of serving and living in the diocese of Guildford as the next Bishop of Dorking,” Dr Wells said. “I am excited to get to know the area and its people, to discover what God is up to and to share God’s abundant blessings within and beyond the church.
“I’ve always found immense joy in nurturing disciples and teaching the faith. I shall look forward to opportunities for this around the diocese – particularly with young people through its many thriving schools and colleges – that each may discover the fulfilment and joy which Jesus offers to everyone.
“At the same time, I expect to learn a lot – as well as laugh a lot – through this new opportunity for serving together.”
Dr Wells is married to the Revd Sam Wells, vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, in London’s Trafalgar Square. The couple have two children, Laurence, 13, and Stephanie, 12.
In her own journey of faith, Dr Wells says that she owes much to sojourns in Uganda and South Sudan, most recently supporting the work of theological education across the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan.
“I’m delighted that Jo has accepted the invitation to become the new Bishop of Dorking and I’m really looking forward to working together as we seek to release the full potential of this remarkable diocese,” the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, said. “Jo’s abilities, both academic and pastoral, were discerned at an early age, and the depth of her faith, the richness of her experience, and her global outlook will be huge assets to us all.
“I am excited about the energy and passion Jo will bring to the role, and am sure that the people of our diocese will afford her and Sam the same warmth of welcome that Beverly and I received just over a year ago. We can’t wait to have her on board!”