Last Saturday, I was invited to Winchester for the Service of Welcome to the new Anglican Bishop of Winchester, Bishop Philip Mountstephen. He was until recently the Bishop of Truro but in a very impressive ceremony this last weekend he was installed as the successor to the previous incumbent, Bishop Tim Dakin. Bishop Philip was born in Hampshire and studied English Literature at the University of Southampton where he came to Christian faith. Following a short career in teaching, he was ordained in the Diocese of Oxford in 1988, where he also served his curacy. From 1992 to 1998, he was the vicar of St James Church, West Streatham in the Diocese of Southwark. He also held posts as Deputy General Director at the Church Pastoral Aid Society (CPAS), chaplain of St Michael’s Church, Paris, ministering in English and French and supporting the church’s Tamil refugee congregation, and CEO of the Church Mission Society (CMS). He became the Bishop of Truro in 2018. During that time he chaired a review into the Foreign Office’s response to global Christian persecution, which led to the passing of a new UN Security Council Resolution. Philip is married to Ruth, a strategic planner who has worked in the NHS, local government and charity sector, and they have a married daughter, Kitty.
I look forward to meeting him regularly at our Hampshire Church Leaders meetings and on other occasions. Let us pray for him, not least during this week of prayer for Christian Unity. In the picture above, after he had taken his oaths in St. Lawrence’s church before processing to the Cathedral, I am formally assuring him of the prayers of the Catholic community. [Image: Hampshire Chronicle]