Wednesday 28 September 2016

Ex-nurse appointed Church of England's fourth woman bishop

Rod Minchin

Published 09/06/2015 | 12:52

Rev Dame Sarah Mullally Credit: Ash Mills/Salisbury Cathedral/PA Wire
Rev Dame Sarah Mullally Credit: Ash Mills/Salisbury Cathedral/PA Wire

A former top nurse has been appointed as the Church of England's fourth woman bishop.

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The Rev Dame Sarah Mullally, 53, a former NHS chief nursing officer, is to be the next Bishop of Crediton in Devon.

The married mother-of-two is the fourth woman to be made a bishop following the Venerable Rachel Treweek - the Church's first diocesan bishop - who will become the Bishop of Gloucester; Rev Canon Alison White, the new Bishop of Hull; and the Rev Libby Lane, the Bishop of Stockport.

Dame Sarah, who is currently Salisbury Cathedral's Canon Treasurer, said: "It is with some surprise that I find myself appointed as the Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter, not least that, whilst I am delighted, I will be sad to leave Salisbury Cathedral after three years.

"It has been a privilege and great joy to have been part of the cathedral community and I will miss some wonderful colleagues and friends. My time here has equipped me well for my ministry that is ahead in Devon and I will take much with me into my new role."

In her current role, Dame Sarah has been responsible for overseeing the care and maintenance of the buildings and delivery of its major repair programme.

Before ordination, she was appointed as the Government's Chief Nursing Officer for England in 1999 - becoming the youngest person to hold that role.

Dame Sarah was ordained in 2001 and quit nursing in 2004 to take up full-time ministry, becoming a rector in Surrey in 2006.

She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing and midwifery.

"Throughout my life, as both a nurse and a priest, I have experienced God's enduing love and I hope as bishop to be able to share that love with others," she said.

"My calling as a Christian and now as bishop has been shaped by my belief that we are called to be witnesses to the generous love of God and the good news of Christ Jesus.

"In my future ministry in the Diocese of Exeter I hope to encourage and enable Christians to grow in their faith, to share that faith with confidence and to serve the people of Devon with joy."

The Rt Rev Robert Atwell, the Bishop of Exeter, said he was delighted to welcome her to Devon.

"This is an outstanding appointment. Sarah will enrich the life of the church in Devon enormously," he said.

"She will bring to her new role the same mixture of compassion, integrity and professionalism that has characterised everything she has done and achieved, both nationally and specifically within the Church of England."

As Bishop of Crediton, Dame Sarah will primarily look after east and north Devon, though in common with the Bishop of Plymouth, she will minister across the whole diocese.

She is married to Eamonn, who works as a business architect, and they have two children, aged 23 and 19.

Dame Sarah will be consecrated as Bishop of Crediton in Canterbury Cathedral in July, alongside the newly appointed Bishop of Gloucester.

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