Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Exeter

Press release from 10 Downing Street. Further information on the Exeter diocesan site “New Bishop of Exeter announced on Devon Day”. St Edmundsbury & Ipswich has this report.

The King has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Mike Harrison, Suffragan Bishop of Dunwich in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, for election as Bishop of Exeter.

Appointment of Bishop of Exeter: 4 June 2024

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 4 June 2024

The King has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Mike Harrison, Suffragan Bishop of Dunwich in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, for election as Bishop of Exeter, in succession to The Right Reverend Robert Atwell, following his retirement.

Background

Mike’s undergraduate studies were in Mathematics & Statistics at Selwyn College, Cambridge, after which he worked as both a Management Consultant and a Social Worker in London. He trained for ministry at Oxford and served as Assistant Curate at St Anne and All Saints, South Lambeth in the Southwark Diocese for four years. During this time he studied for a PhD in Doctrine at King’s College, London University. Mike went on to be Chaplain at Bradford University and Bradford and Ilkley Community College, where he was also Diocesan World Development Advisor, and completed an MA in International Development Studies at Bradford University. From 1998 he was Vicar of Holy Trinity, Eltham in the Diocese of Southwark, also serving as Rural Dean of Eltham and Mottingham. He moved to Leicester Diocese in 2006 as Director of Mission and Ministry.

In 2016, Mike took up his current role as Suffragan Bishop of Dunwich in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich with a keen focus on mission & evangelism, discipleship, engaging children & young people and cultivating vocations.

Mike is married to Rachel, an Occupational Therapist and they have four adult children. He is a passionate supporter of Bolton Wanderers (having been born in Bolton) and (not unrelatedly) has an interest in live comedy, as well as being a beekeeper and baker of cakes.

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James Allport
James Allport
8 days ago

I don’t know +Mike, but I have watched many of his weekly videos with +Martin Seeley discussing the forthcoming Sunday’s readings. Based solely on that, this looks like a good appointment. But isn’t +Eds and Ips retiring soon? So who will hold the fort?

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
8 days ago

What good news for Exeter. This is an important and far sighted appointment.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
8 days ago

+Martin is not going until 28 February next year and so he could in theory appoint a new suffragan to be in place before his retirement. I suspect that he will leave it to his successor.

Coventry is in a similar position. After years of having the same two bishops, both left within a few months of each other. I think + Taunton is acting Bishop, assisted by others.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
7 days ago

Oscar Wilde lived in the Diocese of Exeter over the winter of 1892-1893. Edward Bickersteth was Bishop of Exeter at the time. Oscar Wilde was in Reading Gaol by the time the first Bishop of Crediton was consecrated in February 1897.

Christopher
Christopher
8 days ago

I only heard him once, at a local service with an entirely adult congregation. He spoke down to us as if we were little children.

David Runcorn
Reply to  Christopher
7 days ago

Perhaps give him a second chance?

Geoff M.
Geoff M.
Reply to  Christopher
7 days ago

Jesus did say we are to become like one of them!

Baptist Trainfan
Baptist Trainfan
8 days ago

I knew Mike slightly while I was in Suffolk and I think this is an excellent appointment.

T Pott
T Pott
8 days ago

Bolton Wanderers lost to Oxford in the playoffs final and so Exeter and Bolton will be in the same league next season.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
7 days ago

Hugely good nomination. +Dunwich is theologically very able. He gets strategy and has evident leadership skills to bring to the diocese and the House of Bishops.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Anthony Archer
6 days ago

What’s he like as a pastor?

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Janet Fife
5 days ago

Can’t answer that directly, but take a look at the Bishops of Suffolk YouTube channel. Lots of rich material. I am sure clergy and lay alike will warm to him in Exeter.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Anthony Archer
5 days ago

I’ve taken a quick look. There’s nothing there that indicates how well the bishops will respond to a complainant who has been abused, or a priest burned out and in danger of breakdown.

A key strategy any bishop should employ is to look after people in his/her patch. It’s in part the failure of practical love that is losing the C of E adherents.

Sceptical
Sceptical
7 days ago

With the translation of +Dunwich and the retirement of the Diocesan isn’t this a good time for a discussion about realigning the Diocese. Bishops like the myriad of other Archdeacons,specialist advisers and Diocesan officials have multiplied like topsy at the expense of the parishes.Norwich, Ely and Chelmsford could each absorb parishes from St Ed’s. Or is it a case of Eccesiastical Monopoly where pass Go means collecting even more Bishops and Administrators while the parish clergy are saddled with ever more enlarged benefices and declining congregations

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Sceptical
6 days ago

It’s time this issue was addressed. Before too long all will be bishops! There was opportunity to ‘review’ arrangements in Devon and Cornwall while both Exeter and Truro bishoprics were vacant, and to resurrect the previous one Diocese- the Diocese of Exeter- from which Truro was carved in 1876. Such times allow reorganisation relatively painlessly.
When will someone ‘get a grip’ on the episcopacy, rather than reducing clergy and parish numbers ‘at the sharp end’?

Meanwhile, I wish +Mike well in Devon, leaving Dunwich to the waves.

David Runcorn
Reply to  God 'elp us all
5 days ago

‘Bishops have multiplied like topsy’ … ‘Before too long all will be bishops!’ I must have missed all this when I went out to put the kettle on.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  David Runcorn
5 days ago

Perhaps, given time, Ken Eames may be able to show that the proportions of Bishops to Parish Clergy or to ‘Worshipping Community’ has ‘improved’ over the last howevermany years? I’ll not be watching for the kettle to boil

Anne Foreman
Anne Foreman
Reply to  God 'elp us all
5 days ago

It’s my understanding that the Dioceses Commission reviews each See arrangement prior to Vacancy in See Cttee beginning the discernment process. +Mike’s appointment is good news indeed for Exeter.
Anne Foreman
(Chair Exeter ViSC)

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Anne Foreman
5 days ago

And do we know whether any review has resulted in a See arrangement?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  God 'elp us all
5 days ago

In my diocese, Edmonton in western Canada, there are currently about fifty parishes. I enjoy the fact that our bishop is able to know the parishes well, including many of the lay people, and is in close touch with what people are thinking, feeling, and going through. If I was part of a diocese of three or four hundred parishes, I think it would be a very different experience, and we would be the poorer for it. My own view is that we need more episcope, not less. Of course, in our country most dioceses do not have the large… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
5 days ago

I find it odd that the CNC for Exeter got a candidate over the finish line, but couldn’t for Carlisle. The tone set by the chair? The quality of the coffee and biscuits? The weather? There is talk of the central membership of the CNC being more conservative, but clearly +Mike’s support for extending Holy Matrimony to same-sex couples wasn’t insurmountable. Or perhaps it’s about appointing men as diocesans. Either way, given +Mike’s position on LLF/PLF conservative clergy and congregations will be reaching out to CEEC and other conservative networks.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
5 days ago

The composition of each CNC is different. There are diocesan representatives. My understanding is that the General Synod appointed members rotate.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
3 days ago

I recently met the newly appointed chair of the Exeter D.A.C..i don’t know how many clergy Exeter has but it has 600 or so churches, two thirds of them Grade 1 listed. So a major problem ( and not only in Exeter) is what to do with them in the next decade.

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