Robert to EXETER Jan 2014

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undefinedThe next Bishop of Exeter is the Rt Revd Robert Atwell, currently Bishop of Stockport. His appointment was announced this morning (Tuesday 21 January) by the Prime Minister's office. Bishop Robert will become the 71st bishop of the Diocese of Exeter which comprises more than 500 parishes across the county of Devon.

Aged 59, he spent ten years as a Benedictine monk at Burford Priory in Oxfordshire, and then served as a parish priest in London before becoming Bishop of Stockport in 2008.

Bishop Robert said today: “I feel honoured and excited by the call to be the next Bishop of Exeter. I shall be succeeding Michael Langrish who was, of course, previously Bishop of Birkenhead. So there is a well-beaten path between our two dioceses.

“My five and a half years as Bishop of Stockport have been immensely happy and it will be a real wrench to leave the Diocese of Chester, not least because of the wonderful friendships and support I have enjoyed. I am particularly grateful for the leadership of the Bishop of Chester, Peter Forster, and for the support of colleagues and friends across Cheshire. I shall miss the rich variety of our diocese, but will be exchanging one beautiful county for another.

“Please pray for me as I prepare to move to Exeter after Easter that I may be a worthy successor to St Boniface and those who first brought the Christian faith to the people of Devon centuries ago. And please pray for the clergy and people of Exeter Diocese that together, by God’s grace, we may be faithful in our witness to Christ.”

The Bishop of Chester said: “Bishop Robert Atwell has been a marvellous colleague, whose ministry has been greatly valued throughout the Diocese of Chester. His depth of spirituality, and commitment to prayer and worship, have been an inspiration to many.”

And the Bishop of Birkenhead, Keith Sinclair, said: “Bishop Robert has been a good friend and Godly pastor. His leadership of retreats and his passion for churches to grow effectively have been huge encouragements to many.”

Bishop Robert has pledged to spend time listening to people in his new role and explained that his priority will be to lead Exeter Diocese in prayer, witness and service.

He said: “My ten years as a Benedictine monk taught me that all growth is rooted in prayer. God doesn’t want us just to exist or to fritter our lives away. He wants us to be fully alive and to serve people with joy.”

In his spare time Bishop Robert enjoys gardening, the theatre and writing. He is the author of a number of books, including Pilgrim: a discipleship course recently launched by the Church of England to encourage people to explore the Christian faith.

Bishop Robert will be installed in Exeter Cathedral in July and will live in Exeter.

Announcement from the Diocese of Exeter