Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Ripon: Helen-Ann Hartley

10 Downing Street announcement

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Macleod Hartley, MTheol, ThM, MPhil, DPhil, Bishop of Waikato in the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki, in New Zealand, to the Suffragan See of Ripon, in the Diocese of Leeds in succession to the Right Reverend James Harold Bell, MA, on his resignation 30 April 2017.

Bishop Helen-Ann (44) was born in Edinburgh, and grew up in Sunderland. She was educated at the University of St Andrews, Princeton Theological Seminary in the USA, and Worcester College, University of Oxford, where she is an Honorary Fellow. She trained for ordination on the St Alban’s and Oxford Ministry Course, and was ordained deacon in 2005, and priested in 2006. She was Curate in the Benefice of Wheatley, and then in the parish of Littlemore, both in Oxford Diocese. In 2008 she was appointed Lecturer in New Testament at Ripon College Cuddesdon, and later Director of Biblical Studies. In 2012 she became Dean for the New Zealand Dioceses at the College of St John the Evangelist in Auckland. She was elected Bishop of Waikato in August 2013, and was consecrated on 22 February 2014.

Bishop Helen-Ann has published with SPCK, and is a regular contributor to the Daily Reflections series for Church House Publishing. She has also contributed to the Pilgrim course.

She is married to Myles, an organist and church musician. Her interests include the night sky, contemporary fiction and visual arts, going to the gym, and watching netball.

From the Leeds diocesan website: New Bishop of Ripon announced as Rt Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley

…Announcing the appointment and welcoming Bishop Helen-Ann at Church House in Leeds on November 9, Bishop Nick Baines said,
“I am delighted to welcome Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley as the new Bishop of Ripon. She brings expertise as a theologian, and episcopal experience from the wider Anglican Communion. She will add great strengths to the leadership and ministry of this diocese.”

The bishop designate will officially begin her ministry on February 4, 2018 when she will be welcomed and installed at a service in Ripon Cathedral…


  • Excellent; that’s all.

  • cryptogram says:

    A splendid appointment

  • Edward Prebble says:

    An excellent appointment indeed. We will be very sorry to see her go from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia.
    I did predict, on her appointment at Waikato, that she would not remain very long in that position before some CofE diocese was sensible enough to bring her back.
    Congratulations to her, and to her new diocese.

  • I’m sad for ACANZP that we will be losing the theological nous of Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley. Since she became Bishop of Waikato (in concert with our Primate, Archbishop Philip Richardson, the Bishop in Taranaki), +Helen-Ann has exercised her episcopal gifts with consummate energy and skill. We are going to miss her eirenic debating ability in our upcoming Motion 29 Debate in Generral Synod.

    Our loss; the Church of Engand’s gain. Treat her well as she deserves.

  • Michael Mulhern says:

    Congratulations and thanks to Nick Baines for appointing a bishop with an agile theological mind. Which other bishops will have the courage and vision to do likewise, so that when it comes to nominating Diocesan bishops, CNCs will have a larger pool of candidates with real intellectual ability, and less room to lazily opt for ‘evangelists’ over and against ‘theologians’?

  • Anthony Archer says:

    Really encouraged to see appointments of this calibre. She will be the twelfth woman bishop in the Church of England, and its youngest!

  • James Thomas says:

    Agree with Michael Mulhern (and others) that this is a good appointment. Why is no-one further up the food chain taking more notice of episcopal appointments in the Diocese of Leeds? Nick Baines has thought outside the box for all the Area Bishops he has appointed, and refused to go for the ‘usual suspects’ (and certainly not those who believe they are entitled to episcopal office). This has made a tremendous difference in a new Diocese, and we are reaping the benefits of bringing in fresh talent from outside. There is just one pocket of stagnation, and opportunities are now beginning to present themselves there, so we continue to be upbeat and positive about the future here.

  • Peter Bostock says:

    Let me guess where the pocket of stagnation is in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds.
    Possibly the southernmost part where I used to work?

  • Michael Mulher, why is the appointment of an ‘evangelist’ more lazy than the appointment of a ‘theologian’? This evangelist is curious to know.

  • Father David says:

    West Yorkshire and the Dales covers a very broad geographical area – with this latest appointment it now covers a very Broad Church from Wakefield to Ripon.

  • Michael Mulhern says:

    Good question, @Tim Chesterton. I think it is lazy when diocesan representatives on CNCs assume that only those with a proven track-record of putting bums on seats can be effective enablers of mission and evangelism as bishops, coupled to a refusal to allow for the possibility that someone who is intellectually able can be visionary and inspiring. As has often been said before, we would never have had David Jenkins as Bishop of Durham under the current short-sighted criteria.

    I think the present composition of the House of Bishops is instructive. It is full of people deemed to have a track record of ‘growth’ – and still the Church of England is in decline. Helen-Ann Hartley’s appointment gives us an opportunity to see whether ‘the emperor has no clothes’ – and Nick Baines is to be congratulated for having the courage to think bigger.

  • Father David says:

    David Jenkins was an extremely popular bishop within his Durham diocese – I’d even go so far as to say that he was greatly loved by the people of County Durham. With all these managerial bishops currently in situ can the same be said of any present serving diocesan?

  • I have a couple of questions, Michael Mulhern.

    Is ‘evangelist’ the same as ‘one who puts bums on seats’?

    Is ‘church growth’ just about ‘putting bums on seats’? (as if average Sunday attendance is the main thing) Or is it about creating the kind of community that will be attractive to real human beings who are spiritually hungry?

    Why do you see a contradiction between being an evangelist and being ‘intellectually able’?

    Finally, since (in the view of many people here at TA) the takeover by ‘the managers’ is a consequence of Justin Welby’s appointment as ABC, isn’t it a little unrealistic to think that in just a few short years they could turn around a decline that has been going on for half a century?

  • Michael Mulhern says:

    Oh dear. I’ve obviously rattled Tim Chesterton. Let’s just say that I may not see any contradiction between ‘evangelist’ and ‘intellectually able’ but (and this was the point I made all along) those who are pontificating on CNCs seem to do so. When did we last see a professional academic appointed to a diocesan (or suffragan) see in England? When was the last time we saw an episcopal appointment that was not predictably bland and ‘on message’? The joke is that most university professors have infinitely more managerial experience, not to say theological imagination, than the wannabe businessmen being draped in purple at the present time, and who will never capture hearts and minds.

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