The Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Canon Jo Bailey Wells, has been announced as the next Bishop of Dorking. Born in 1965, Canon Wells was ordained in 1995, and served as Chaplain and then Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, until 2001. She has held several teaching posts, including Pastoral Tutor at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, Director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies, and Associate Professor of Bible and Ministry at Duke Divinity School, North Carolina, in the United States. She describes how she owes much in her journey of faith to substantial visits to Uganda and South Sudan.
Archbishop Welby said last week that, under her oversight, “the worshipping life at Lambeth Palace has been transformed, most notably by the arrival of the Chemin Neuf community and the Community of St Anselm.”
The announcement was made last week, on Maundy Thursday, when Canon Wells visited St John’s C of E Primary School, in Dorking, where she washed the feet of staff and pupils (left). When asked by The Daily Telegraph about the negative treatment of Muslims on social media, she replied that she had experienced something similar in the United States, but “I would be keen to keep it from our shores. But part of the culture is that we now tweet and blog before we speak and think. Cyberspace, the blogosphere, has encouraged that kind of behaviour, and I think I want to stand against that.”
Canon Wells, who is expected to take up her post in August, is married to the Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Canon Sam Wells, who will remain in his current position. They have two children, aged 12 and 13.