Meet our new Bishops

On 5 May it was announced by Downing Street that the Revd Jonathan Baker and the Revd Norman Banks had been appointed to the Sees of Ebbsfleet and Richborough respectively. Speaking later that day at a press conference at Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: ‘I am very happy to welcome two such faithful and gifted priests as colleagues.

They are taking up a very demanding pastoral ministry at a time of much upheaval and uncertainty, and will need our prayers and friendship as we work in the Church of England for a future in which there is full mutual respect and constructive work in mission to be undertaken together. I am deeply grateful to those who have exercised pastoral care for traditionalist priests and parishes in recent months, especially Bishops John Ford, Mark Sowerby and Lindsay Urwin.’ We join with the whole of our constituency in welcoming these new Bishops and look forward to their consecration at Southwark Cathedral on 16 June.

Jonathan Baker

FR JONATHAN BAKER (aged 44), studied at St John’s College,

Oxford and then trained for the ordained ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. He served his first curacy at Ascot Heath, in Oxford Diocese, from 1993 to 1996. From 1996 he was firstly Curate at Reading St Mark before becoming Priest-in-Charge from 1996 to 1999, and then Vicar from 1999 to 2002. From 1996 to 1999 he was also Priestin-Charge at Reading Holy Trinity and from 1999 to 2002 he was Vicar. Since 2003 he has been Principal at Pusey House in the diocese of Oxford and Honorary Curate at Oxford St Thomas in the diocese of Oxford. Father Baker is married to Jacqueline who is an academic publisher and they have three children, Dominic aged 16, William aged 12 and Caris aged 9.

At the Lambeth Palace press conference Fr Baker commented: ‘The appointment of two new PEVs for the Southern Province is a real sign of commitment by the Church of England to the growth and renewal of every aspect of its common life, particularly its catholic tradition which I know and love.

I look forward immensely to serving as Bishop of Ebbsfleet and to leading the clergy and lay people in my care to have confidence in their faith and in proclaiming the Gospel to all.’

Norman Banks

FR NORMAN BANKS (aged 57), studied at Oriel College, Oxford and then trained for the ordained ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. He served his first curacy at Newcastle Christ Church with St Ann from 1982 to 1987 and was then Priest-in-Charge from 1987 to 1990 in the Diocese of Newcastle.

From 1990 to 2000 he was Vicar of Tynemouth, Cullercoats St Paul in Newcastle Diocese. Since 2000 he has been Vicar of Walsingham, Houghton and Barsham in the diocese of Norwich and Rural Dean of Burnham and Walsingham from 2008. Since 2009 he has also been Chaplain to the Queen.

Commenting on his appointment Fr Banks said: ‘One of the real pleasures and privileges of being Vicar of St Mary’s is getting to know so many of the people who visit Walsingham regularly and make the Parish Church part of their pilgrimage.

I am both delighted and honoured that for those in the Richborough area I am about to have the opportunity and privilege of becoming their bishop and visiting them where they regularly worship.

From the many recent conversations I have had, I believe that there is real desire across the Church of England to find a way for us to hold together with integrity and generosity. I hope the appointment of two new PEVs will be seen as both ‘gift’ and ‘sign’ at this crucial time in the life of our Church.’ ND