THE Bishop-designate of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter
Hancock (above), has said the long journey towards women
bishops is nearing an end.
Bishop Hancock, whose appointment was announced on Tuesday,
said: "It seems we have been travelling for a long time, and I'm
delighted we are on the last part of that journey. Sometimes we do
not always handle [these issues] very well."
Bishop Hancock, who has been the Bishop of Basingstoke since
2010, said that a car-bumper sticker with the slogan "Are we nearly
there yet?", which he had spotted in Lambeth Palace, summed up the
frustration with the sluggish progress towards allowing women into
the episcopate. He said he was thrilled that one of the eight women
observers who joined the House of Bishops for the first time this
week, the Ven. Nicola Sullivan, Archdeacon of Wells, was from his
"This is a very critical time for the Church and for society,"
Bishop Hancock said. "One of the things I want to do is to help
society shape itself around commonly held Christian principles."
This was true for Bath & Wells as well as the wider country, he
said. "There are huge opportunities for the Church to share our
resources, but also to listen and learn from the communities we
The sense of responsibility in taking on the 1104-year-old
diocese was very evident, Bishop Hancock said on Wednesday. He was
thankful, however, for the legacy of the Bishops who had served the
diocese before him. His immediate predecessor, the Rt Revd Peter
Price, who retired in June, was both a personal friend and an
Bishop Hancock, who is 58, read natural sciences at Cambridge
before studying for ordination at Oak Hill Theological College. He
served his title in the diocese of Salisbury, as Assistant Curate
of Radipole and Melcombe Regis. In 1987 he became Vicar of Cowplain
in the diocese of Portsmouth, before becoming Archdeacon of The
Meon. He also spent three years as diocesan director of
Bishop Hancock is married to Jane, and has four adult