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New Bishop of London's one vocation: 'to follow Jesus Christ and make him known'

The next Bishop of London will be the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally DBE, currently Bishop of Crediton, 10 Downing Street has announced.

Bishop Sarah will succeed the Rt Revd and Right Hon Richard Chartres KCVO, who retired as Bishop of London earlier this year. She will be installed as the 133rd Bishop of London at St Paul’s Cathedral in the new year.

Bishop Sarah was a senior civil servant in the Department of Health before ordination. A trained nurse, she became Chief Nursing Officer for England in 1999, the youngest person to be appointed to the post.

She was ordained in 2001 and served her curacy in St Saviour’s Battersea Fields, initially as a self-supporting minister, before leaving her Government post in 2004, subsequently taking up full-time ministry in the London Borough of Sutton.

Bishop Sarah was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing and midwifery. In 2012 she was installed as Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral, before becoming Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter in 2015, primarily serving North and East Devon. She is a member of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Steering Group.

Bishop Sarah said: “It is a great honour to be nominated to the See of London. Having lived and worked in London for over 32 years, the thought of returning here is about returning home.

"I am often asked what it has been like to have had two careers, first in the NHS and now in the Church. I prefer to think that I have always had one vocation: to follow Jesus Christ, to know him and to make him known, always seeking to live with compassion in the service of others, whether as a nurse, a priest, or a bishop. To be given the opportunity to do that now in this vibrant world city is a wonderful privilege.”

Bishop Sarah was introduced to representatives from across the Diocese of London at St Paul’s Cathedral, before meeting staff and students at the Urswick Secondary School in Hackney, where 70% of pupils are eligible for Pupil Premium Funding.

As part of an initial tour of some of the parishes and projects at work in the Diocese, Bishop Sarah will also be visiting a foodbank preparing Christmas packages at St John’s in Hoxton and she will be introduced to leaders from the Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum, to discuss unity, solidarity, and the challenges that London’s faith communities face together.

Acting Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, said: “I welcome the announcement of Bishop Sarah’s appointment and look forward with excitement to working under her leadership as our Diocesan Bishop.

"She has proven qualities of leadership and commitment to collaborative working. Bishop Sarah’s work in the public square uniquely equips her for the important outward focus that is required in leading the Diocese in this great world city. She also brings strong experience of parish and cathedral life, and sees her vocational experience as nurse, civil servant, priest, and bishop as a totality.”

Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Robert Atwell, said: “I am delighted for Bishop Sarah and for London, though I am desperately sorry to lose her. During her two years in Devon, Sarah has made a huge impact on churches and communities, and transformed so much of the way the Diocese works.

"Her focus on safeguarding and pastoral care, and the way she has built good relationships across all the traditions of the church will stand her in good stead as she moves to London. She will make an excellent diocesan bishop and I know that God will use her energy and gifts to great effect in our capital city.”

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