THE next Area Bishop of Croydon, in the diocese of Southwark, is to be the present Archdeacon of Croydon, the Ven. Dr Rosemarie Mallett, Downing Street announced on Tuesday.
Dr Mallett will be the first female bishop in the diocese, and the second Barbadian Bishop of Croydon, the first being the Rt Revd Wilfred Wood, who served from 1985 to 2000. Dr Mallett’s appointment will bring to eight the number of bishops in the Church of England of UK minority-ethnic or global-majority heritage.
Dr Mallett will succeed the Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, who relinquished his post in the diocese last month (News, 10 September 2021).
Born in Barbados, Dr Mallett grew up in the UK and received a BA from the University of Sussex in 1981, and later a Ph.D. from the University of Warwick, in 1994. Before being ordained deacon in 2004, she was a research sociologist and academic, specialising in international development and ethno-cultural mental health.
She trained for ordination at the South East Institute of Theological Education, and has served all her ministry in Southwark diocese. Her title parish was Christ Church, Brixton Road, from where she moved in 2007 to be Priest-in-Charge of St John’s, Angell Town, becoming Vicar from 2013. She became Archdeacon of Croydon in 2020. From 2013 to 2020, she was also Director of Ordinands for the Kingston Episcopal Area.
Dr Mallett has been a prominent anti-racism campaigner in the Church of England. She is the diocesan lead on racial justice, and, in 2021, proposed an anti-racism charter, which was adopted by the diocesan synod (News, 1 April 2021). She was a member of the House of Clergy of the General Synod for ten years, from 2011 to 2021.
During a debate on a motion on the Windrush legacy in 2020, she said that, with other members of the Windrush generation, “We are sick and tired of being sick and tired about this situation. . . Many BAME people are still feeling battered and bruised by a system that has good intentions, but lacks intentionality” (News, 21 February 2020).
Dr Mallett has also called for the Church to take more action to tackle knife crime and youth violence (Comment, 17 August 2018). In 2019, she moved a motion, unanimously backed by the General Synod, to take collaborative efforts to stem youth violence (News, 12 July 2019).
Dr Mallett said on Tuesday: “I am thankful to God for the honour and privilege of serving as the next Bishop of Croydon. I love the diversity of this area geographically, ethnically, and culturally. I will serve the Episcopal Area of Croydon and East Surrey and the people with great pride, and do my very best to make God’s word and his love be known, while championing social justice causes across the area for people of all ages.”
The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, said that he was delighted that Dr Mallett would be Bishop of “the gloriously diverse Croydon Episcopal Area, which stretches well beyond the M25”. He continued: “It has been a joy to see Rosemarie flourish as Archdeacon of Croydon, with her passion for building community cohesion as well as championing racial and social justice. I have asked her to continue to focus on these as a bishop.”
Dr Mallett has one daughter, and her interests include baking, walking, jazz music, and theatre. She will be consecrated in Southwark Cathedral on 24 June.
Also on Tuesday, the diocese announced who will replace Dr Mallett as Archdeacon. It will be the Revd Greg Prior, Vicar of All Saints’ with Holy Trinity, Wandsworth, since 2004. Mr Prior was born in South Africa, and has ministered in the Church of England in South Africa and in the C of E.