The next Bishop of Ebbsfleet will be the Revd Dr Rob Munro, the Rector of Cheadle, Downing Street has announced.
A former Maths and PE teacher and parish priest, Rob will have a special national ministry to parishes of a complementarian evangelical theology across England.
The father-of-three first came to faith as a teenager through the ministry of St Mary’s, Cheadle, the parish church in the Diocese of Chester, to which he would later return as Rector and has led for the last 19 years.
He will continue the ministry established by the recently retired Bishop of Maidstone, Rod Thomas, providing extended episcopal oversight to parishes which, on the grounds of complementarian evangelical theology, are unable to receive the priestly or episcopal ministry of women.
The Bishop of Chester, Mark Tanner, has welcomed the announcement sayng: “Rob has been an outstanding Rector of Cheadle, Rural Dean, and (for many years) Chair of the House of Clergy in this Diocese.
“I am delighted by his appointment, although we shall be sorry to see him leave the parish.
“He and Sarah go with our gratitude and prayers.”
Rob takes on the See of Ebbsfleet, previously held by bishops with a ministry to traditional catholic parishes, as part of a series of changes to the title of Sees providing extended episcopal oversight in the Church of England.
The announcement from Downing Street came as Rob visited All Soul’s, Langham Place, in central London, where the journey towards his new role began in 1985, where he had his first job as a part-time teaching assistant at the attached All Souls CofE Primary school while studying Applied Theology there.
He said: “Serving Jesus Christ as a part of his Church has been the greatest privilege of my life, and sharing the life-transforming good news of Jesus has been a deep personal passion and is an urgent priority for the Church.
“My prayer is to see the churches I am called to serve to better contribute to the wider diversity of the Church, to more deeply express a sacrificial compassion in serving their local communities, and to build on the national Church of England vision to be simpler, humbler and bolder in a Church centred and shaped by Jesus Christ.
“The Church faces many challenges over the next few years, but it has a message that is a source of much-needed hope and joy. My hope is to help all who are called to bring that good news, to be good news as well!”
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who introduced the new bishop, said: “I warmly welcome Rob’s appointment to this important role, and I’m particularly pleased that the announcement comes here in London, where his journey began.
“I would like to take the opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to Bishop Rod Thomas for his support, our partnership, and our shared commitment to mutual flourishing, which I now look forward to building on with Rob.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “I would like to congratulate Rob on his appointment and welcome him to this important national role in the life of the Church.
“I know that Rob is a committed pastor with a heart for mission and reaching people with the good news of Jesus Christ.
“He has, for many years, been deeply involved in the life of the Church both locally and nationally. I know that he will build on foundations laid by Bishop Rod Thomas, and will be committed to working well with all.
“I will be praying for Rob and his family as he answers God’s call to this new stage of his ministry, and for all those across the country whom he will serve.”
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “I am delighted that Rob is to be Bishop of Ebbsfleet. He has been a faithful servant of the Gospel as a parish priest in the Diocese of Chester, and as a member of General Synod.
“Rob comes well equipped to his new task to support and encourage those parishes that look to him for pastoral care and support. As a church we continue to work hard to flourish together and I look forward to working with Rob in his new role.”