THE 99th Bishop of Lichfield is to be Dr Michael Ipgrave, it was announced on Wednesday.
Dr Ipgrave, who is 57, is currently the Area Bishop of Woolwich in the diocese of Southwark. On his translation, he will succeed the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, who retired last year.
He studied mathematics at Oriel College, Oxford, and trained for the ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, after working in a factory in Birmingham for a year. He is married to Dr Julia Ipgrave, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Humanities at Roehampton University. They have three adult sons.
He said on Wednesday that he felt “quite daunted” but “also very excited” at his appointment. “Lichfield is a big, diverse and quite complex diocese,” he said. “There is a huge amount of energy here, and I look forward to building on that and strengthening our common witness and life together.”
He was ordained deacon in 1982, and priest in 1983, in the diocese of Peterborough, and became Archdeacon of Southwark in 2004 after more than 20 years of ministry in Leicestershire and Japan.
“My father was a prisoner of war in Singapore under the Japanese,” he said. “He came to visit us when we were in Japan, and that experience had a big impact on his life: to see the reality of reconciliation after the deep pain he had been carrying through his life, to see that being turned around, I found very moving. It has taught me a lot about what Christian reconciliation means in practice.”
Dr Ipgrave was Canon Missioner at Southwark Cathedral from 2010 to 2012, chairman of the Southwark and London Diocesan Housing Association, and Anglican Borough Dean of Southwark. He was previously Inter Faith Relations Adviser to the Archbishops’ Council, and Secretary of the Churches’ Commission on Inter Faith Relations.
“Clearly there are communities in this part of the world that can feel neglected or forgotten, and I think the Church is here to help bring new hope and light into those situations, often in very practical ways,” he said.
He was speaking after a visit to the YMCA hostel in Wolverhampton, on Wednesday, where he met staff and residents, jobseekers, and young Christians from the Wolverhampton Pioneer Ministries.
He was later introduced to the College of Canons at Lichfield Cathedral, and was blessed in the shrine of St Chad during evensong on Wednesday.
In a message of welcome on the diocesan website, Dr Ipgrave said that he had “learned a great deal” about every kind of Anglicanism throughout his ministry, most recently in “twelve wonderful years” in London, but was looking forward to returning to the Midlands. “I want us to be a worshipping community that creates value and meaning in people’s lives at the centre of human community — that’s what church at its best is all about.”