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Bishop to leave Edmonton to take over at the Church Urban Fund

21 February 2023

Church Urban Fund

Bishop Wickham outside St Gabriel’s, Walsall, which runs a Places of Welcome project, supported by the Church Urban Fund, on Tuesday, when his appointment was announced

Bishop Wickham outside St Gabriel’s, Walsall, which runs a Places of Welcome project, supported by the Church Urban Fund, on Tuesday, when his appoint...

THE Bishop of Edmonton, in the diocese of London, the Rt Revd Rob Wickham, is to be the next chief executive of the Church Urban Fund (CUF), it was announced on Tuesday.

Bishop Wickham has been in his current post since 2015, and has ministered in the diocese of London for 25 years. His final act as Bishop will be the Edmonton area ordinations on 24 June, and he will take up his new post later this year.

In an ad clerum to clergy and laity in the Edmonton Episcopal Area, on Tuesday, he writes: “God never fails to surprise, and I am now responding to a new calling.”

His ministry, he writes, has been influenced deeply by the report Faith in the City, and that a “desire to serve the most marginalised and vulnerable has shaped my ministry in each parish, and as a bishop. . . This hope and gospel imperative to prioritise the poorest and build flourishing communities is at the core of the vision of CUF.”

Bishop Wickham said on Tuesday: “The pandemic and so much more has revealed excessive inequality in England on many different scales, yet the hope-filled call of Jesus remains the same. I look forward to working with the CUF family in helping to shape a collective response to these challenges and opportunities.”

Andrew Barnett, who chairs the trustees of CUF, said Bishop Wickham’s appointment “enhances both our national connections and our understanding of the local context as we focus on delivering on our refreshed purpose of empowering people of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs to serve, lead, and speak. This could not be more important in such challenging times”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed news of the appointment. “As the country copes with food and energy inflation, and tens of thousands of people struggle financially, CUF’s involvement is needed now more than ever,” he said. “Likewise, their work in bringing together different faiths in their Near Neighbours programme is invaluable.

“Bishop Rob brings to CUF many years of deep engagement with hard-pressed communities and a profound theological understanding of Christian social action. I pray that he, and CUF, will continue to flourish and will keep the Church at the forefront of positive change when it comes to poverty and exclusion.”

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