New bishop of Stepney for Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets hails ‘gloriously diverse’ patch

Bishop-designate Joanne, visiting St John at Hackney, the iconic Parish Church of Hackney, which is

Bishop-designate Joanne, visiting St John at Hackney, the iconic Parish Church of Hackney, which is undergoing a multi-million pound restoration project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Picture: Colin Ross - Credit: Archant

Protestants in Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets are “hugely excited” by the announcement of a new bishop of Stepney today.

Dr Joanne Woolway Grenfell, currently archdeacon of Portsdown, in Portsmouth, has been chosen as Diocese of London’s next Bishop of Stepney: a patch covering the three aforementioned north and east London boroughs.

Joan will have a consecration ceremony in July before officially starting her new role in September.

She will also be the lead bishop for social responsibilty and, along with the Bishop for London, take a lead in safeguarding church-goers.

“It is a joy and a privilege to be asked to become the next Bishop of Stepney,” she said. “And to live in this gloriously diverse and creative part of the capital.


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“I am looking forward to listening to local people to learn what is already happening here, and to discerning how I can best support churches to be confident, growing communities as they live out the good news of the gospel.

“There are particular opportunities and challenges here – empowering young people, celebrating each other’s many gifts, seeking the common good, working across different communities – and I am excited at the thought of being part of God’s work, with others, across Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets.”

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The bishop was educated at Oxford University, where she went on to lecture English. She became a priest in 2001.

The Rt Rev and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Bishop of London, said: “This is a hugely exciting appointment for London. Joanne is a person of prayer and theological reflection.

“She is a person committed to spiritual growth, with an understanding and love of the diversity we see across London.

“I am sure she will provide inspirational Christian leadership across the Stepney Area, and across the capital as a whole.”

The outgoing bishop of Stepney, Rt Rev Adrian Newman, announced his intention to step down in July due to debilitating migraines.

The Diocese of London is a group of Church of England organisation in North London. It says it has 1,000 clergy and ministers, 150 church schools and more than 70,000 regular worshippers.

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