A former priest in the united Church of North India’s Diocese of Calcutta has been chosen to be the next Area Bishop of Bradwell in the Church of England’s Diocese of Chelmsford. The Ven Dr John Perumbalath already serves in the Diocese, which covers the county of Essex and parts of east London, as the Archdeacon of Barking. He comes, originally, from the ancient Syrian Christian community in Kerala, India, and trained for ministry at Union Biblical Seminary in Pune.
Dr Perumbalath worked as a youth worker among university students for two years and as a theological educator for three years before his ordination in the CNI. In addition to his parish ministry, he served on the CNI’s General Synod and its theological commission. He moved to the Church of England in 2002 and served in three parishes before becoming Archdeacon of Barking in 2013.
He is a member of the C of E’s General Synod and sits on its appointment committee and mission & public affairs council. He is a trustee board of Westcott House, a theological college at Cambridge University, and chairs the national committee for minority ethnic Anglican concerns (CMEAC) and the London Churches Refugee Network.
He is a former trustee of the Anglican mission agency USPG and has accepted invitations to speak at meetings in various provinces of the Anglican Communion.
“I am humbled and honoured to have been invited to be the next Bishop of Bradwell,” Dr Perumbalath said today. “It has been a great joy to share in the life of Barking Episcopal Area in the last five years and I look forward to the new opportunities and challenges that serving the Church in the Bradwell Episcopal Area will bring.
“I am passionate about the Christian faith that can transform individuals, communities and institutions, and about communicating that faith through pastoral care, teaching and community engagement. God is about human flourishing. He is there for every Essex Man and every Essex Woman.
“I am aware of the social, economic and cultural challenges faced by the communities in the Area. I am committed to working with and serving the churches and communities in this part of Essex.”
The Bishop of Chelmsford, Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, said he was “delighted” at the appointment, describing Dr Perumbalath as “a wise and gifted theologian and pastor.”
Bishop Stephen added: “As Archdeacon of Barking he has won the trust and affection of the parishes, supported the mission of the Church, and helped ensure each community was served effectively. He will bring this experience to the parishes and communities of the Bradwell Episcopal Area, building on the work of those who have gone before him. Please pray for John and his wife Jessy as they prepare for this move.”
He succeeds Bishop John Wraw, who died in July last year after a three-year battle with multiple myeloma.