Diocese of Portsmouth

    Archdeacon Joanne to become Bishop of Stepney

    7 May 2019

    THE Venerable Dr Joanne Grenfell, Archdeacon of Portsdown, will be the next Bishop of Stepney, it was announced today (May 7).

    Downing Street confirmed today that Joanne will become an area bishop within the Diocese of London from September, covering parishes in the boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets.

    Joanne’s life in the Church of England has taken her from outer housing estates and inner city parishes, chaplaincy, diocesan ministry, and cathedral outreach, through to her current strategic role as Archdeacon of Portsdown. She is currently responsible, with the bishop, for Church of England parishes in the city of Portsmouth and the borough of Havant.

    She will formally take up her new post in September 2019, after her consecration as a bishop on July 3rd, and will join the College of Bishops in the Diocese of London. As well as her role for the Stepney area, she will be the lead bishop for social responsibility and, along with the Bishop of London, take a lead for safeguarding.

    Joanne will move to London with her husband James and their three children. James Grenfell will retain his role as director of Portsmouth Pathway, our diocese’s theological training course for clergy and lay ministers, based at St Luke’s Church, Southsea.

    The Rt Rev and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Bishop of London, said: “This is a hugely exciting appointment for London. Joanne is a person of prayer and theological reflection.She is a person committed to spiritual growth, with an understanding and love of the diversity we see across London. I am sure she will provide inspirational Christian leadership across the Stepney area, and across the capital as a whole.”

    The Ven Dr Joanne Grenfell, Bishop-designate of Stepney, said: “It is a joy and a privilege to be asked to become the next Bishop of Stepney and to live in this gloriously diverse and creative part of the capital.

    “I am looking forward to listening to local people to learn what is already happening here, and to discerning how I can best support churches to be confident, growing communities as they live out the good news of the gospel.

    “There are particular opportunities and challenges here – empowering young people, celebrating each other’s many gifts, seeking the common good, working across different communities – and I am excited at the thought of being part of God’s work, with others, across Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets.”

    And the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, said: “Archdeacon Joanne has been an outstanding leader in mission in the Diocese of Portsmouth working closely with me and colleagues in focussing on enabling the church to grow in depth, impact and numbers.

    “Though we shall miss her, especially in Havant and Portsmouth deaneries, we know she will bring gifts of clarity, insight and leadership as Bishop of Stepney to the communities of that area and to the Diocese of London, as she has across a wide range of ministry and outreach here."

    The Ven Joanne Grenfell with the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Sarah Mullally, at St John's Church, Hackney, which is being refurbished and transformed into a community-based hub
    Joanne meets pupils in St Mary Magdalene Academy in Islington on the day she is announced as the new area bishop
    Joanne meets members of the Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum on the day her appointment is announced

    The Ven Dr Joanne Grenfell was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, where she was also lecturer in English. She trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge.

    She was a curate in Kirkby Team Ministry in the Diocese of Liverpool, and was ordained priest in 2001. In 2003, Joanne was appointed priest-in-charge of Manor Parish in the Diocese of Sheffield with responsibility for the urban theology placement programme run by Ripon College Cuddesdon.

    In 2006, Joanne became Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Residentiary Canon, and in 2008 she took on the additional role of Dean of Women’s Ministry. Joanne became Archdeacon of Portsdown in 2013.

    Photos: Colin Ross Photography

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