Living God's Love Values - Generosity, Joy, Imagination and Courage
Living God's Love Values - Generosity, Joy, Imagination and Courage

Bishop Michael to be next Bishop of Bath and Wells

Downing Street has announced today (28 April 2022) that the Rt Revd Michael Beasley will be the next Bishop of Bath and Wells, after seven years as Bishop of Hertford in the Diocese of St Albans.

He is currently the Bishop of Hertford, a role which he has held since 2015. Prior to taking a full-time role with the Church, Bishop Michael was an epidemiologist, a background he was called on to use during the pandemic as a member of the Church of England’s COVID task force.

Bishop Michael is already familiar with Somerset. His wife Lizzie is from a farming family from Somerset and prior to Bishop Michael being interviewed for the role of Bishop of Bath and Wells, they both undertook a 60-mile walk around the county.

Speaking in advance of today’s announcement, Bishop Michael shared his joy in becoming the 80th Bishop of Bath and Wells and said he was looking forward to getting to know the people of Somerset.

He said:

“I am delighted to be coming to be the Bishop of Bath and Wells and to joining with everyone in the diocese as together we live and tell the story of Jesus.

“We have strong family connections with Somerset and I’m very much looking forward to working alongside its people, communities and churches.

“We have all been through a challenging few years. The COVID pandemic pushed us all apart. Now is the time to come back together. Our churches have an essential role in helping us rebuild communities and in facing the challenges present to us both internationally and at home.

“Jesus’s message is one of peace – a peace I’m looking forward to sharing and pursuing as I join you as your bishop.”

Before his ordination as Bishop of Hertford in the Diocese of St Albans, Bishop Michael served as Director of Mission in the Diocese of Oxford. A scientist by background, he was an epidemiologist specialising in infectious diseases of children in low-income countries.

As well as being a member of the Church of England’s Covid task force he also worked with UNICEF, the NHS, the Government and leaders of different faiths to launch vaccinaid.org which has raised more than £10 million in support of vaccination for low-income countries.

Commenting on his work on the taskforce he says, “I thought I’d left science behind but God never wastes anything! So in the last few years the skills I gained before have been of use to the Church now. ”

The Bishop of St Albans has welcomed the announcement, saying:

“I am delighted to receive the news that Michael Beasley is to be the new Bishop of Bath and Wells.

“Michael has served with distinction as Suffragan Bishop of Hertford in this diocese since mid-2015, and he will leave an impressive and long-lasting legacy here.

“He has dedicated himself to supporting mission and ministry here, and his presence in our parishes, schools, and chaplaincies, both in Hertfordshire and in the wider diocese, has been a constant and welcomed mark of his work.

“Alongside the deep commitment to his diocesan role, Michael has been generous in offering his knowledge and expertise, both as a bishop and as a scientist, at a national level, and has made a significant contribution to the Archbishops’ task group during the COVID pandemic.

“Michael has been a valued member of the Bishop’s Staff, and his passion, insights and innovative style has been central to carrying forward our diocesan vision of Living God’s Love.

“He will be sorely missed but it is entirely right that the church benefits in new ways from his many talents. He, along with Lizzie, Charlie and Connie go with our best wishes and blessing.”

Background

Brought up in rural Staffordshire, Bishop Michael attended a small Church of England primary school and a rural church. Bishop Michael was ordained in 1999 and until his appointment as Director of Mission in the Diocese of Oxford in 2010, he combined his scientific work 50:50 with work in Christian ministry as a missioner and theological educator.

Bishop Michael’s appointment follows the retirement of the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, who stood down as Bishop of Bath and Wells in May 2021 due to ill health.

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