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Archbishop of Canterbury appoints new chaplain and head of media relations

Posted on: November 11, 2016 8:14 AM
The Revd Isabelle Hamley will become the Archbishop of Canterbury's chaplain in January 2017.
Photo Credit: Lambeth Palace
Related Categories: Abp Welby, appointment, England, Lambeth Palace

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has appointed two new members of his senior staff team at Lambeth Palace. The Revd Isabelle Hamley, currently tutor in biblical studies at St John’s College, Nottingham and associate priest in the parish of Edwalton, will take up her new role as the archbishop’s chaplain in January. And veteran religious affairs journalist Jonathan Petre, currently the religion and education correspondent on Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper, will take up the new head of media relations role at the end of January.

In addition to the usual duties of chaplain, Hamley will develop the archbishop’s priority of prayer and the renewal of religious life, especially through the Community of St Anselm, the residential ecumenical new monastic movement of prayer based at Lambeth Palace.

“I am delighted with the opportunity to join the Lambeth team in supporting the work of the Archbishop. It is a privilege to join such a rich and diverse working environment, bringing my experience in parish, chaplaincy and theological education. I look forward to getting to know all those who work and live at Lambeth and enabling prayer to be the beating heart of our life together.”

The head of media relations is a new role at Lambeth Palace and has been created to oversee day to day contact with the media and provide the archbishop with regular advice and guidance. The Lambeth communications team, led by director of communications Ailsa Anderson, remains a total of three people.

“I have covered religion for most of my journalistic life, and I am really looking forward to putting that experience to use in my new role at Lambeth Palace,” Petre said. “I will be joining at an important and exciting time for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, and I am particularly pleased to be working for such a highly respected archbishop. This is a tremendous opportunity for me to help communicate the vital role played by the Church both nationally and globally.”

Commenting on the appointments, Archbishop Justin said: “I am delighted to welcome Isabelle to the team at Lambeth. The chaplain is a central part of life here, supporting the archbishop and the family, maintaining the rhythms of worship and prayer and providing pastoral support for the community who live and work here.

“Isabelle comes to us highly commended by her diocese where she has served in several ministry roles, lay and ordained, in university, college and parish. She brings a pastoral heart, a spiritual richness and a rigorous theological understanding to what is a demanding role. We look forward to welcoming her, husband Paul and daughter Aelwen to London and life at Lambeth.

“Jonathan is an experienced and seasoned journalist with a strong background in reporting religious affairs both on the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion. I am delighted he has chosen to use his obvious skills to serve the Church and we are all looking forward to working with him.”

The archbishop’s previous chaplain, the Revd Canon Dr Jo Bailey Wells, was appointed Bishop of Dorking in the diocese of Guildford earlier this year. His former senior press officer, Ed Thornton, returned to the Church Times at the end of last month to take on the new role of assistant editor.

Jonathan Petre is the second national newspaper religion correspondent to join the Church of England this month. Last week it was announced that John Bingham, religious and social affairs editor for the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, was joining the Church of England at the end of the year as head of media operations, based at Church House in Westminster.