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Bishop Thornton for Truro

11 June 2008

by Bill Bowder

THE Rt Revd Timothy Thornton, who is 51, has been nominated as the next Bishop of Truro, it was announced on Tuesday. He has been Area Bishop of Sherborne, in Salisbury diocese, since 2001.

Bishop Thornton was domestic chaplain to Dr David (now Lord) Hope when he was Bishop of Wakefield, and accompanied him when he moved to London. His nomination was welcomed by the former Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Bill Ind, who retired in April.

“Tim is very much a man after my own heart,” Bishop Ind said. “The people of Cornwall will warm to him immediately; for he believes in a gospel accessible to all. He is an experienced, sensible bishop, and a first-rate communicator who learnt much from his time with Bishop David Hope.”

At a press conference in Truro on Tuesday, Bishop Thornton said that he was “optimistic about the future of the Church”. He had gone to school in Plymouth and his father, a vicar, “was once a staunch supporter of Plymouth Argyle [FC] and a regular in the terraces”.

He promised that, if and when he took up a seat in the House of Lords, he would fight for Cornwall. He would work closely with the new unitary authority for Cornwall when it was formed next year. He also wanted to work with other religious groups. He said that the Church had to go out to the people.

The Bishop runs to keep fit, and for relaxation watches “rubbish television”, he says. He is also interested in Rugby Union, cricket, and reading church history. He is married to Sîan, and they have two grown-up children.

He studied at Southampton University and at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, and was ordained in Wakefield in 1980. After serving his title, he became Priest-in-Charge of St Peter’s, Walsden. He was chaplain to the colleges in Cardiff before becoming chaplain to Lord Hope. He became Principal of the North Thames Ministerial Training Course in 1994, and Vicar of St Mary Abbots, Kensington, in 1998.

Salisbury diocese’s link with the Sudan is something that has had a “very profound effect” on his ministry. He was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset last year.

He is expected to move to Lis Escop, the Bishop of Truro’s official residence, in the late autumn, and to be welcomed at a service in Truro Cathedral on 24 January.

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