Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Bath and Wells

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.
There are more details on the diocesan website.

Bishop of Bath and Wells: 28 April 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Noel Michael Roy Beasley, Suffragan Bishop of Hertford, for election as Bishop of Bath and Wells.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 28 April 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Noel Michael Roy Beasley, Suffragan Bishop of Hertford, for election as Bishop of Bath and Wells, in succession to The Right Reverend Peter Hancock following his retirement.

Background

Michael was educated at Imperial College, London and Oriel College, Oxford and trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham. He served his title in the Parishes of Newport, Chetwynd and Forton in the Diocese of Lichfield and was ordained Priest in 2000.

Michael became Chaplain of Westcott House, Cambridge in 2003 whilst also working as Senior Programme Manager for The Partnership for Child Development, a research group in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London. In 2008, he was made Vice Principal and Tutor in Mission at Westcott House and Director for The Partnership for Child Development. In 2010, he became Director of Mission, in the Diocese of Oxford and was appointed Honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford in 2014.

Michael has served in his current role as Suffragan Bishop of Hertford since 2015.

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Simon
Simon
1 month ago

As another chap from Bath & Wells (not Stephen Lynas), I recommend Bishop Michael’s 2 minute video message on the B&W website. Welcome!

Simon
Simon
1 month ago

And thank goodness no mention of football teams. To be applauded and imitated.

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
Reply to  Simon
1 month ago

You can’t really do football teams in Somerset. Saying “I have a lifelong passion for Highbridge Town FC” or “I have many fond memories from the terraces at Huish Park” would be spotted as nonsense from the start.

Cricket on the other hand… well, my church shares a wall with Somerset CCC so the deep spiritual connection is well established.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Nic Tall
1 month ago

And Somerset CCC obviously approve the appointment – 130 for 0 at lunch. Although after a truly dreadful start to the season, it looks like “next year in Jerusalem” again.

rural liberal
rural liberal
Reply to  Nic Tall
1 month ago

I’d have given Yeovil Town (Huish Park) if someone was local enough. They’ve been a big noise in either the senior non-league or lower professional leagues for thirty years now. If someone was from those environs then fair enough. I do agree though that even someone from Highbridge laying claim to their passion for Highbridge Town would sound a bit unlikely!

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Nic Tall
1 month ago

I do have some fond memories of Huish Park, and a few slightly scary ones where fighting broke out near us at an FA Cup game against Hereford (finished 0-0, Yeovil won the replay and faced Arsenal in the next round). On the other hand I’m not a CofE Bishop.

Rugby is of course an option, though Bath are a shadow of their former selves.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Simon
29 days ago

Having read his full profile the next Bath and Wells seems to be more interested in Bee keeping rather than Goal keeping. He also appears to be a keen gardener and will inherit a wonderful palace garden at Wells. One of his illustrious predecessors John Bickersteth when dressed in mufti used to volunteer to help out in the garden. On one occasion a visitor to the garden asked him if there were any perks in volunteering to help out to which he replied “Yes, you get to sleep with the bishop’s wife”.

Nicholas Henshall
Nicholas Henshall
1 month ago

This is simply an outstanding and timely appointment.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
1 month ago

I trust your judgement Fr Nicholas, but can you say more? At a time when episcopal leadership is seen at best as a mixed blessing, why should the people of Bath & Wells Diocese and the wider C of E be rejoicing? The answer to that question might help the CNC deliver more outstanding and timely episcopal appointments.

Nicholas Henshall
Nicholas Henshall
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

Thank you – and for me Michael’s outstanding characteristics are his humility and humanity alongside intellectual and organisational gifts. Deeply relational (to use an awful but useful word), and gifted in exercising accountability with an appropriately pastoral heart. Maybe above all, what he says towards the end of the video about knowing and being known actually reflects what he does.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
29 days ago

High praise indeed from the Dean of Chelmsford. As a relatively young family man of only 54 I wonder if the new Bishop of Bath and Wells could be a contender to do a George Carey and become the next occupant of St. Augustine’s throne in a couple of years time? Next year Justin Welby will have been Archbishop for a decade after serving for a very short time as Bishop of Durham. Similarly George Carey was a diocesan bishop for a fairly brief period before becoming ABC. With Carey’s surprise appointment the obvious candidate John Habgood was overlooked and… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
29 days ago

Thanks. I really enjoyed the directness of his video message.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
1 month ago

The new Bishop of Bath and Wells has a profile – DPhil in a science subject, Vice-Principal of Westcott House – in some ways reminiscent of that of John Habgood.

Roy
Roy
1 month ago

Good luck

Peter Doberson
Peter Doberson
1 month ago

It would be appreciated if those of us who remain in the Hertford area could perhaps have a Bishop who has actually been a parish priest.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Peter Doberson
29 days ago

That struck me as the gap in an otherwise exemplary CV.

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
29 days ago

Presumably at Westcott House he helped to train people to be an incumbent even though he had never been one himself.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Philip Johanson
29 days ago

Yes quite a bit of it goes on in the C of E. I suppose the opposite extreme is having a tutor or bishop who bores people by saying ‘when I was a vicar….’

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
29 days ago

Surely it is better to have a bishop who speaks from parochial experience and knows the challenges facing incumbents.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Philip Johanson
29 days ago

Yes that would be my preference. I was thinking about two extremes; no incumbency experience and replaying incumbency experience to the point where people switch off.

Nicholas Henshall
Nicholas Henshall
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
29 days ago

Apologies that I am weighing in on this thread again, and of course I agree that the lack of incumbency experience is increasingly a big issue. I need to know that my bishop knows what it feels like to wander home after a disastrous PCC. In mitigation I would suggest that the important issue here is that diocesan bishops have had demonstrable experience of being the “first chair leader”. Another horrible neologism, I know, but you get the point. New diocesan bishops who have never actually led are likely to spend several years in their new post learning how to… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
28 days ago

I guess all this was weighed up by the CNC for B&W and that the diocesan reps would have voiced their concerns if they had any. From a distance +Michael strikes me as an experienced leader. The make up of the senior leadership team will be important here, with complementary skills and experience. How the various portfolios are split up amongst them will be an important early leadership task.

Simon
Simon
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
27 days ago

Surely Stephen’s point about the Leadership Team is crucial (in addition to his good point about the CNC). I trust few accept the ‘heroic Diocesan Bishop’ Model any longer (particularly after recent events 75 miles to the East of Wells). The 3 Archdeacons of B&W appear to have plenty of experience as Priests/Area Deans/Archdeacons etc. and Dan also makes a good point below re ‘other ministries’. I hope that +Michael can arrive, and the Leadership Team ‘bed in’, ASAP.

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Simon
26 days ago

The diocese referred to 75 miles East of Wells also had a bishop who had never been an incumbent.

Simon
Simon
Reply to  Philip Johanson
25 days ago

I gather from those much closer to the coal face in Winchester Diocese that the fundamental issue in that situation was a lack of any consultation (Bishop: my way or the highway/NDA). However appropriate consultation must be even more, not less, important if you’ve never even been an incumbent.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
27 days ago

Interesting that, in expressing a need to know that your bishop understands the challenges facing the clergy, your example is a disastrous PCC meting.

Dan BD
Reply to  Peter Doberson
28 days ago

As a parish priest myself, I think that far too many in the Church fall into the trap of thinking of parish ministry as the only ministry. If I were a chaplain what-have-you, I’d be rightly a little peeved.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Dan BD
27 days ago

When was the last time a former school, prison, hospital, industrial chaplain was made a bishop? The only one who immediately springs to mind is Simon Phipps (Horsham and Lincoln) Industrial Chaplain in the Coventry diocese but there surely must be others?

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Father David
27 days ago

Ted Wickham, Bishop of Middleton from 1959 to 1982, had previously led the Sheffield Industrial Mission and was a pioneer of industrial mission. A great deal has been written about that, for example Torry M. ‘Bridgebuilders: Workplace Chaplaincy’ Canterbury Press (2010). A group photo with Ted Wickham in it is on the front cover of this book. On his appointment to Middleton, Wickham had an engraved crozier presented to him by the Sheffield Industrial Mission. When in 1975 I was a server at a communion service at which he was celebrating I laid the crozier against a wall when instructed… Read more »

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Father David
27 days ago

Jonathan Frost was Coordinating Chaplain at the University of Surrey before becoming Suffragan Bishop of Southampton in the Diocese of Winchester, Dean of York and Bishop of Portsmouth

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
Reply to  Father David
24 days ago

On this side of the Atlantic, the current Bishop of Brandon, William Cliff, was chaplain at the University of Western Ontario at the time of his election. Not a bad idea to have a bishop with a proven record of relating to young adults, in a church that badly needs to evangelize and involve the younger generation.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Dan BD
26 days ago

Is that the case when people discuss this in relation to bishops? I’d have thought that for every chaplain a bishop has to work with there are far more parish priests, so that’s why it matters.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 month ago

A missionary expert I see – by their fruits Ye shall know them.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Fr Dean
29 days ago

I remember some comments about that subject on the thread about the retirement of +Alison White.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
29 days ago

Indeed, Bishop Alison presided over a dramatic decline in church attendance and numbers of clergy in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The St Albans diocese has also seen year on year decline in all of the indicators of growth; though the diocese has a very wealthy demographic in Hertfordshire so perhaps they’re better feather bedded than York.

David Keen
David Keen
26 days ago

I pray for God’s blessing on Bishop Michael’s ministry among us, and also pray that the national CofE will see fit to spare him from too many other responsibilities. Peter Hancock was given the safeguarding brief 2 years into his episcopate here, and I think it was probably impossible from that point for him to fully give his energies to the Diocese, much as he wanted to.

Simon
Simon
Reply to  David Keen
25 days ago

David, agreed: I guess the fact that 3 bishops are now involved in safeguarding, with the lead not a diocesan and two others ‘supporting’, is in effect an acknowledgment that Peter, and our Diocese, were poorly treated (by Lambeth etc). Peter’s personal commitment to safeguarding, as evidenced during the IICSA hearings for example, was total but even at the time it seemed unfair that he had to carry such a great burden, while also being responsible for a (geographically) large diocese.

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