Sadly, the planned consecration of Matthew Parker as Bishop of Stafford on 28 January has been postponed due to the Covid pandemic. It is hoped it will take place as soon as conditions are more suitable.
In view of this, on 28 January, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, will instead be licensing Matthew as Episcopal Vicar for the Stafford Area. Although he will not be in episcopal orders, this will make it possible for Matthew to undertake the pastoral and administrative duties of the Bishop of Stafford until such time as he can be consecrated.
One of his early tasks will be to consult with Bishop Michael over the appointment of a new Archdeacon of Stoke. In the meantime, Matthew will continue to work with +Alistair Magowan as Acting Archdeacon and Terry Bloor as Associate Archdeacon.
Matthew said: “I am very much looking forward to reengaging with the work of the Stafford Episcopal Area, albeit not exactly in the way I had expected! We are all getting used to our best laid plans changing at the last minute but God is good and faithful and continues to use us all to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, not least in these unsettling times. I am deeply grateful for the support given to the Area in recent weeks by my Area colleagues, Gemma Trueman, Bishop Alistair, Lucinda Wray-Wear and Preb Terry Bloor and it will be great to work alongside them as Episcopal Vicar until such times as a consecration service can safely take place.”
Bishop Michael said: "Even though, for reasons beyond our control, Matthew cannot be consecrated as Bishop of Stafford this month, we are looking forward to working with him in his new role which will largely mirror the responsibilities of a bishop ahead of his consecration. Please pray for Matthew and Sarah at this time of new challenge and opportunity."
Watch an introductory video from Matthew for churches in the Stafford Episcopal Area: