Interim bishop chosen to care for diocese
A BISHOP with wide experience of Church ministry in both urban and rural areas has been chosen to care for Suffolk on an interim basis following the departure of Bishop Nigel later this year.
The Rt Revd David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon, will act as interim bishop for the diocese, working alongside Bishop Nigel during a handover period until he takes up his new role as Bishop at Lambeth in October. He will serve the communities of Suffolk until a permanent bishop is selected, while also continuing to serve as Bishop of Huntingdon.
Bishop Nigel was recently asked by Archbishop Justin Welby to join his senior team based in London. The Archbishop said he was delighted to have commissioned Bishop David to care for the diocese in the interim period until a new diocesan bishop is chosen.
‘Bishop David combines the gifts of a bishop with long experience as a parish priest and archdeacon,’ he said.
Bishop David said of his new responsibility: ‘It is a great privilege to be asked to work as a shepherd for Christ’s people in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich as they wait for a new Diocesan Bishop. I pray that I will be able to help them to continue to grow in faith, deepen discipleship, and share richly the good things God has given us with the communities we serve.’
Bishop Nigel, 63, who has held the post of Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich since 2007 and entered the House of Lords as a Lord Spiritual during March 2011, said: ‘I am enormously grateful to Bishop David and the Diocese of Ely for this generous offer of ministry which will be very reassuring for the people of this diocese in the vacancy. He has wide parish experience in both urban and rural areas and was appointed curate in the mining town of Maltby, Yorkshire, before joining the Banbury Team Ministry in Oxfordshire, where he was responsible for a large area with new housing developments. A highlight of this role was the planting of two new church communities, one a shared project bringing together Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Brethren. He then went on to serve as rector in the market town of Cockermouth in Cumbria.’
The Dean of St Edmundsbury Dr Frances Ward added: ‘While the whole diocese will miss Bishop Nigel enormously, we are very happy to welcome Bishop David as he oversees our diocese at a time of transition while awaiting the appointment of a new diocesan bishop. I know Bishop David and have every confidence that he is the right person to undertake this unusual role.’
Bishop David, 61, was born into a vicarage family in Sunderland, and grew up in Sheffield when the major employer was the steelworks. He then read English at Oxford where he completed his doctorate. After graduating, he taught at a college of education before attending Cambridge to read theology and train for the Christian ministry at Selwyn College and Westcott House.
His current responsibilities in the Diocese of Ely include acting as Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education and Council for Ministry, and he has a particular commitment to work with young people.
Bishop David has also published a series of devotional books as well as continuing to study and write as a medievalist, in recognition of which he was made a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.
Married to Jean, the couple have four children and two grandchildren.