Diocese of Portsmouth

    Joanne Grenfell consecrated as Bishop of Stepney

    3 July 2019

    Our Archdeacon, the Ven Joanne Grenfell, has been consecrated as the new Bishop of Stepney.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, led the service, at which Joanne and three other new bishops were consecrated in St Paul's Cathedral.

    The Archbishop laid his hands on her head, along with dozens of other Church of England bishops, and prayed for God's Holy Spirit to descend and equip her for her new role. She starts the job formally in September.

    His predecessor, the Rt Rev Rowan Williams, preached, encouraging the four new bishops to spot where God was transforming people and to draw those transformations to the attention of others.

    "Apostolic ministry is about someone who draws our attention to the transformation that Christ has made in someone and speaks of it," he said. "A bishop's job is to look at the Body of Christ and say 'look, there it is'! The task of a bishop is to build up that network of deep, joyful trust. It's not just about building up individuals, but building the space where people can discover they are capable of more than they knew. You are building a habitat for a new humanity."

    The Rt Rev Rowan Williams preached at the consecration service
    Joanne Grenfell is consecrated as the new Bishop of Stepney by the Archbishop. Bishop Christopher is among the other bishops also laying hands on her head
    The Archbishop of Canterbury presents Joanne with her episcopal cross
    The bishops applaud the four newly-consecrated bishops (image courtesy St Paul's Cathedral)

    The consecration service took place in the impressive surroundings of the iconic St Paul's Cathedral. Hundreds of clergy colleagues, friends and family from across the country sat in a semi-circle under the soaring dome of the historic cathedral.

    Dozens of bishops dressed in red chimeres processed up the cathedral aisle to join expectant worshippers. The four bishops-designate were presented to the Archbishop by their sending and receiving bishops, so Joanne was presented by both the Bishops of Portsmouth and London. Joanne's son Sam then read the New Testament reading confidently from the book of Ephesians.

    After the sermon, the bishops-designate stood at the altar and made their declarations to the Archbishop of Canterbury, promising to be diligent in prayer, to proclaim the gospel, to strive for peace and to be gentle and merciful to those in need.

    The other bishops moved to encircle the four bishops-designate in prayer as the Veni Creator was sung - a prayer calling on the Holy Spirit to descend and anoint those to be consecrated. The Archbishop of Canterbury then laid his hands on the heads of each candidate, along with fellow bishops, and consecrated Canon Dr Dagmar Winter as the new Bishop of Huntingdon, Canon Deborah Selling as the new Bishop of Southampton, the Ven Dr Joanne Grenfell as the new Bishop of Stepney and the Ven Sarah Bullock as the new Bishop of Shrewsbury.

    Each of the newly-consecrated bishops was given a Bible as a sign of their authority to build up Christ's Church. The Archbishop then anointed all four of them with oil, recalling their baptism, and presented each of the new bishops with their episcopal rings and crosses. The four new bishops then turned to face the congregation and were welcomed with rousing applause.

    The Archbishop then celebrated the Eucharist before he, the new bishops, their new senior colleagues, and the other bishops processed out of the west door. Delighted family and friends embraced the four new bishops, as tourists looked on. To see more photos from the service, click here and here.

    Applause for the four new bishops: (l to r): Sarah Bullock, Bishop of Shrewsbury, Joanne Grenfell, Bishop of Stepney, Deborah Sellin, Bishop of Southampton, and Dagmar Winter, Bishop of Huntingdon
    Bishop Joanne Grenfell is welcomed by family and friends, including former Portsmouth priest the Ven Alex Hughes
    The new Bishop of Stepney with the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Sarah Mullally

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