The Executive Leader of the Anglican mission agency the Church Mission Society, Canon Philip Mounstephen, will leave the organisation later this year to become the next Bishop of Truro. Mounstephen, who regularly writes blogs for the Anglican Communion News Service, has led CMS since October 2012. He will be consecrated on 30 November before taking up his new role, which will see him lead the Church of England across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – and two parishes in Devon, early in 2019.
The announcement of his new appointment was made this morning (Thursday) by 10 Downing Street, the office of the British Prime Minister. The appointment of Bishops in the Church of England are made with the approval of the monarch, Queen Elizabeth, in her role as Supreme Governor, and announced by the government.
The Church Mission Society is amongst the oldest of the Anglican mission agencies. It traces its roots back more than 200 years to the work of William Wilberforce, John Venn, and John Newton, who campaigned for an end to the global slave trade.
Following the official announcement, the chair of CMS’s board of trustees, Charles Clayton, said: “The trustees and staff of Church Mission Society are thrilled to know that Philip has been chosen to be the next bishop of Truro, even though we will miss him dearly at CMS. Philip has contributed enormously to the success of the organisation, leading it expertly and in the process serving the whole church in its mission. He will leave with our love and appreciation for his dedicated service and godly ministry.”
In his role as Executive Leader of CMS, Mountstephen has re-focused the organisation to invest more in mission within the UK through the growth of its highly regarded Pioneer Mission Leadership Training programme and Partnership for Missional Church. At the same time, it has continued to develop its historic global partnerships with Anglican churches and provinces around the world.
“I’m honoured and humbled to have been asked to take on this role and am excited by the possibilities it offers,” Mountstephen said. “It’s been a huge honour to lead CMS for the past six years. It’s given me a privileged insight into what God is doing in his big wide world – and brought me into contact with some truly wonderful people.
“I have learned so much in the process; indeed part of my motivation in taking on this role is the sense that now is the time to put what I have learned about mission into practice.
“Cornwall is a wonderful place, with a rich Christian heritage. It also faces some major challenges. I have significant family roots there, so this does feel very right, and I’m looking forward very much to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
The Bishop of St Germans, a suffragan bishop within the diocese, Dr Chris Goldsmith, has been acting as Bishop of Truro since Bishop Tim Thornton left to become Bishop at Lambeth – a senior advisor and assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury. “I am delighted to welcome Philip on behalf of the Diocese of Truro,” Dr Goldsmith said. “He clearly brings a great deal of energy and expertise, both in terms of his experience of parish and chaplaincy ministry and as somebody who has been a successful leader of a large and complex mission agency.
“We are very much looking forward to working alongside Philip as he brings his gifts and knowledge to serve and lead the Anglican Church in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and our two parishes in Devon.”