THE appointment of two new suffragan bishops in the diocese of Chester was announced on Thursday.
The Ven. Julie Conalty, currently Archdeacon of Tonbridge, in Rochester diocese, is to be the next Bishop of Birkenhead; Canon Sam Corley, currently Rector of Leeds Minster, will be the next Bishop of Stockport.
Born in 1963, Archdeacon Conalty grew up in the north-west of England, but, since her ordination in 1999, has served in the dioceses of Southwark and Rochester. She read biblical studies at Sheffield University and — graduating before ordination was opened up to women — worked at a homeless shelter, as a social worker, and in probation services. She then trained for ministry at the South East Institute of Theological Education.
While working a self-supporting minister in parishes in Southwark, she held posts in youth services before transferring to stipendiary ministry in 2010 and serving in parishes in south-east London and Erith. She was appointed Archdeacon of Tonbridge in September 2017, served as the Bishop of Rochester’s Lead for Safeguarding for three years, and has been a General Synod member since November 2013. Her announcement noted that during lockdown she and her husband have been “playing [the games] Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride seemingly ad infinitum”.
Born in 1976, Canon Corley has served in in the dioceses of Blackburn and Leeds since his ordination in 2004. After serving his title at St Thomas’s, Lancaster, he was assistant diocesan missioner in the diocese of Blackburn. He has also served as senior chaplain to Bradford University and as Precentor of Bradford Cathedral. He is a former faith adviser to the Lord Mayor of Bradford. Before training for ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham, he read theology at Durham University and taught history in Surrey.
He has led more than 30 residential holidays for teenagers, and his announcement noted that, having spent much of his childhood working on a farm, he has a “deep love of the countryside and nature”.
Archdeacon Conalty succeeds the Rt Revd Keith Sinclair, who retired in March, and Canon Corley succeeds the Rt Revd Libby Lane, who was translated to Derby in 2019.