Who is bishop-designate Julie Conalty?


The Venerable Julie Conalty, Archdeacon of Tonbridge and Bishop-Designate of Birkenhead

Julie grew up in the North West of England but has spent the last 35 years "exiled" in the south.

She first experienced a call to ordained ministry as a teenager and when she finished school she moved to Sheffield to study for a Biblical Studies degree. Upon graduation, as women could not train to become priests, Julie found work running a homeless shelter, trained as a social worker and began a career in the Probation Service in London. Eventually, she was accepted for ordination training and was ordained deacon in 1999 and priest in 2000. Her training parish was in Southwark Diocese and she was initially a self-supporting minister while continuing her secular work.

Bishop-designate Julie visiting Tranmere Rovers. She is an avid Charlton Athletic fan. 

Subsequently, she worked for the Youth Justice Board before becoming the national manager of a resettlement project and then a Local Authority manager for Specialist Youth Services. She also founded a consultancy partnership and somewhere amidst all of that found the time to study Applied Theology.

In 2010, Julie transferred to Stipendiary Ministry, giving up her "day job" and taking up a post in a newly formed United Benefice in southeast London. In 2012 she became vicar of Christ Church, Erith in the Diocese of Rochester. She also served as the Bishop’s Advisor for the Ministry of Ordained Women and Area Dean of Erith. She was made an Honorary Canon of Rochester Cathedral in 2016. Julie was appointed as Archdeacon of Tonbridge in September 2017.

She held the position of the Bishop of Rochester’s Lead for Safeguarding for three years. She has also been a member of the General Synod of the Church of England since November 2013.

The Bishop of Rochester, James Langstaff welcomed the news of Julie's appointment:

"Archdeacon Julie has given a huge amount to our diocese in a relatively short amount of time, serving first as vicar of Christ Church Erith and Area Dean of Erith.  She's also been my adviser for the Ministry of Ordained Women, and alongside being Archdeacon of Tonbridge, has held the significant role of Bishop's Lead for Safeguarding.

"Her own passion and desire to see safeguarding work taken seriously has been of huge importance, changing not just processes, but also culture within the diocese. She would agree there is still a long way to go, but her contribution in this area has been hugely valuable.

"We assure her of our prayers as she takes on this new ministry."

Julie visiting the Grange Precinct in Birkenhead

Julie is married to Simon and they have two grown-up sons. Julie likes a beer and a takeaway curry on a Friday night and the whole family support Charlton Athletic.

"In an attempt to get some exercise" she goes walking in the countryside. During the lockdown Julie and Simon have been playing Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride "seemingly ad infinitum". She has even resorted to embroidery and completed one jigsaw.



See some photographs of Julie and her husband Simon on the day Downing Street announced that she is to become the next Bishop of Birkenhead.

Page last updated: 28th May 2021 8:54 PM