Photo Credit: Mike Resch/Diocese of Canterbury
A London-based Jamaican-born Anglican priest who serves as Chaplain to members of the UK’s Parliament alongside her duties as Priest in Charge of St Mary-at-Hill near Monument in the City of London, has today been named as the next Bishop of Dover. The bishopric is an unusual one: it is a suffragan see in the Diocese of Canterbury, but the bishop effectively runs the diocese, allowing the Archbishop to spend more time on his Primatial duties for the Church of England and his role as primus inter pares in the Anglican Communion. Canon Rose Hudson-Wilkin will take up her new role in November, after being consecrated in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.
Expressing “excitement” at the call to serve the diocese “with its long history of Christian witness”, the bishop-designate said that she was “looking forward to journeying with the people of Kent, celebrating the good work that is already happening there and working together with its religious and secular leaders to ensure that the good news of hope, love and justice remains at the heart of our changed lives together.”
The appointment was welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who said that “Rose Hudson-Wilkin has, over the last nine years, been one of the most influential and effective ministers in the public square through her long service as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. I have constantly been told that she has been an effective pastor in one crisis or another, especially in the last few years.
“Before that she was a parish minister of great impact. She has been described as prophet, pastor and evangelist. She has challenged the Church of England over its engagement with UK minority ethnic groups, and has spoken forcefully and effectively at many evangelistic meetings.
“I am absolutely delighted that she is willing to move from her current role to be the new Bishop of Dover. She will bring great energy and a profound commitment to collegial working, an outward looking approach to the mission of the church and a profound spiritual life. We pray for God’s blessing on her as she prepares to move.”
The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, offered warm praise for the appointment, saying: “Rose is one of the warmest, kindest and most loving people I have ever met, so she will be sorely missed by Members across the House, the staff and especially, by me.
“She has an unfailing sense of duty and an ability – more than she would herself ever know – to bring comfort in times of tragedy. Furthermore, her steely resolve when confronted with loss and evil, following the death of our dear colleague Jo Cox” – an MP who was murdered in June 2016 – “and in the wake of the Westminster Bridge attack, was plain for all to see.
“Both in the celebration of happiness and in condolence and prayer, she has the most reassuring, fortifying presence anyone could want.
“Personally, I would like to thank Rose for her steadfast support and friendship over the last nine years. Our loss is certainly the Diocese of Canterbury’s gain. She will be the most excellent Bishop of Dover, and I will watch keenly the next stage of her spiritual journey.”
She will succeed the Bishop Trevor Willmott, who retired last month.