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New bishop for Church in Wales gives House of Bishops equal balance of men and women

Posted on: September 26, 2019 9:58 AM
The Archbishop announces the bishop elect of Monmouth, Cherry Vann, archdeacon of Rochdale
Photo Credit: Church in Wales Facebook

[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] One of the first women to be ordained a priest in the Church of England has been elected as the new bishop of Monmouth for the Church in Wales.

Archdeacon Cherry Vann, will become the 11th Bishop of Monmouth and be one of three women bishops in the Church in Wales. It is thought her appointment will make the Church in Wales the first Anglican Province to have an equal number of male and female bishops in its House of Bishops.

The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, announced her election following a meeting of the Electoral College at Newport Cathedral last week.

He said: “I am looking forward enormously to working with Cherry. She has a huge amount that she will be able to contribute to the life, not only to the Diocese of Monmouth, but also to the Church in Wales."

“One area I know is very close to her heart is the church’s ministry in post-industrial areas where community life, and church life in particular perhaps, has suffered enormously. The diocese, a little while ago, appointed a new archdeacon with responsibility for those areas, but having a bishop with great experience of them will be a huge morale boost for them.”

Speaking about her appointment, Cherry Vann, who has served as Archdeacon of Rochdale for the past 11 years, said she had a lot to learn but hoped to help connect with ordinary people to show that the church is still relevant to their lives.

She said the challenges facing churches in south-east Wales were the same as those in the north-west of England.

“The towns around Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale and Ashton are significantly challenged, both economically and in terms of church life,” she said. “We’ve done some statistics, and a very, very small percentage of the population are going to our churches. This is something that we have been working hard to address in the Manchester area and I look forward to bringing some of the wisdom and knowledge I’ve gained from there to Newport and the Diocese of Monmouth.”

Originally from Leicestershire, Cherry Vann trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge, and was ordained as a deacon in 1989. She was among the first women to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1994 and has spent her entire ministry so far in the Diocese of Manchester, in Flixton, Bolton and Farnworth. She is also an honorary canon of Manchester Cathedral and a former chaplain to deaf people.

Archdeacon Cherry holds senior posts in the governance of the Church of England. She has been Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York since 2013 and is an ex-officio member of the Archbishops’ Council.

A talented pianist, she is both an Associate of the Royal College of Music and a Graduate of the Royal School of Music. She conducts the Bolton Chamber Orchestra.

Following the confirmation of her appointment, Cherry Vann will be consecrated as bishop at Brecon Cathedral – the seat of the current Archbishop – and enthroned as the 11th Bishop of Monmouth at Newport Cathedral.