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New Bishop to Archbishops of Canterbury and York appointed

19 April 2021

The first post-holder will be Dr Emma Ineson, currently Suffragan Bishop of Penrith

Diocese of Carlisle

Dr Emma Ineson

Dr Emma Ineson

THE post of Bishop at Lambeth has been abolished and replaced by “Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York”, it was announced on Monday. The first holder of the new post, Dr Emma Ineson, currently Suffragan Bishop of Penrith, says that she will use the post to bring together the north and south of England.

The current Bishop at Lambeth, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, announced his retirement earlier this year (News, 12 February). The new arrangement is to “facilitate closer working” between Lambeth and Bishopthorpe Palaces, a note from Lambeth explained.

Dr Ineson will leave her home in Kendal, in the diocese of Carlisle, in May. Like Bishop Thornton, she will be based at Lambeth Palace in London, but she said on her appointment on Monday: “I am excited, because I think that there is a real opportunity for closer working between the two Archbishops and two offices. It is a really good thing about the north and south: I am delighted, especially coming from the north-west as I am, to be doing a role that encompasses both Provinces. The role itself signals some important developments.”

This includes work on the Church’s vision and strategy, she said. “We are coming into a new era. We are doing a lot of work on vision and strategy and the emerging Church; it is such a key point for the Church as we emerge after Covid, so there will be new and wider elements to the role, which I will be relishing. I have been involved with Archbishop Stephen already on the vision work.”

This process, she said, “has been discerned very much in partnership with people around the C of E, so all sorts of voices have been listened to, especially younger people; we are trying to engage with a younger and more diverse group of people.”

She continued: “I am looking forward to consolidating some of the things that we have heard coming out of that, particularly developing a mixed ecology of church, to making sure that our Church reflects the communities that it ministers to and serves. . . We have so much to say in terms of hope, who God is, and the work God can do in people’s lives.”

Beginning on 1 June, Dr Ineson will work directly for both Archbishops, and closely with the College of Bishops and the House of Bishops, and the National Church Institutions. She will also have specific oversight of the programme for the 2022 Lambeth Conference (News, 15 January), the working group of which she already chairs. Dr Ineson will not, however, be Bishop to the Forces or Episcopal Commissary to the Falkland Islands, both of which are duties of the present Bishop at Lambeth.

“We are organising some really exciting bishops’ conversations, which are opportunities for all the bishops around the Anglican Communion to get together — mostly on Zoom — in smaller groups to get to know each other and to worship and pray. Just sorting out the practicalities and organising that will be a big part of my role for the next few months.”

Dr Ineson is a former chaplain to the Bishop of Bristol, and was Principal of Trinity College, Bristol, from 2014 to 2019. She was appointed Bishop of Penrith in May 2018 (News, 11 May 2018), and consecrated at York Minster the following February.

She spent most of her childhood in Kenya, her family moving to Wales when she was a teenager. She studied English at Birmingham University, then for an MPhil, and a Ph.D. on the language of worship. She and her husband, Mat, trained together for ordination at Trinity College before serving a job-share curacy in Sheffield, and later as chaplains to the Lee Abbey community in Devon.

She has been a member of the General Synod, the Faith and Order Commission, and the Implementation and Dialogue Group. She is also Central Chaplain to the Mothers’ Union, chair of the CPAS Council of Reference, and a trustee of Emmanuel Theological College. She has written two books: Busy Living: Blessing not burden (Continuum) and Ambition: What Jesus said about power, success and counting stuff (SPCK) (Comment, 29 November 2019; Podcast, 12 December 2019).

She said: “I have really enjoyed my time in Carlisle diocese. It is with very mixed feelings that I leave here: excitement about the new role, but I will carry the hills of Cumbria in my heart into the centre of London as I move. I am just hugely grateful for the communities of Carlisle welcoming me over the past few years.”

The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, thanked Dr Ineson for her “instrumental” work in the diocese. “Emma has brought tremendous oversight and leadership qualities to the relaunched God For All vision. She is a fantastic communicator of the gospel message, and I know she has inspired many others to explore their faith further. All of this, married with her strong analytical and strategic skills, will, I’m sure, see her flourish in her new role.”

Archbishop Welby said: “I know she will bring her considerable wisdom, humour, and humility to the role, as well as her wealth of experience as a chaplain, teacher, and outstanding preacher. Archbishop Stephen and I are looking forward to working with Bishop Emma on issues relating to the emerging Church, the role and nature of bishops’ meetings, and the priorities we face.

“As we look forward to the Lambeth Conference, in which Bishop Emma will continue to play a crucial role, her authentic and practical ministry will be invaluable to the global Anglican Communion.”

Archbishop Cottrell, said: “Her theological depth and pastoral heart will be a huge blessing in this important ministry, not just to the Archbishops but to the Church of England, as we strive to be a simpler, humbler, and bolder Church.”

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