The new Area Bishop of Shrewsbury will be The Venerable Sarah Bullock, who is currently serving as Archdeacon of York.
No 10 Downing Street announced today that the Queen has approved Sarahs nomination in succession to the Right Revd Mark Rylands, who moved to parish ministry in Exeter Diocese in July 2018 after almost nine years as Bishop of Shrewsbury.
Sarah will be the first woman to serve as a bishop in the Diocese of Lichfield. She will join the Area Bishops of Wolverhampton and Stafford in an episcopal team led by the Bishop of Lichfield. Her particular responsibility will be the pastoral oversight of churches, ministers and communities in the towns and villages of North Shropshire, including Shrewsbury, and the northern part of Telford.
Sarah (55) trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall, University of Durham, a theological college in the evangelical tradition of the Church of England. She was ordained 26 years ago after a short career in teaching and childrens and youth work in the Diocese of Manchester. She then served there in a variety of parish and diocesan roles including Bishops Adviser for Womens Ministry and Borough Dean for the City and Borough of Manchester. She was made an Honorary Canon of Manchester Cathedral in 2007.
In 2013 Sarah was appointed Archdeacon of York, a largely rural area which includes market towns, the deep rural communities of the Vale of York and the edges of the Yorkshire Wolds as well as the City of York. Building relationships in the rural communities has been a vital part of supporting and encouraging the churches and she has worked creatively with colleagues to develop new approaches to mission and ministry in such communities. While Archdeacon she has also learned to drive a tractor, operated a milking parlour, led a Carol Service in a cowshed at Askham Bryan (Agricultural) College and ridden a racehorse!
She said: I am honoured and delighted to have been invited to become the Bishop of Shrewsbury. Im looking forward to really getting to know the communities of this area and those who live, work and worship here.
Im passionate about the Christian faith and journeying with people to discover and share the love, joy and hope that Jesus offers to everyone. I look forward to supporting the churches, schools, colleges and communities of this area as we share the good news of Gods love, which brings transformation, hope and renewal."
Sarah is married to Peter, a physicist, and they have one son, Joseph, who is currently studying for a PhD at the University of Durham.
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, said: I am grateful for the prayers, wisdom and advice of many people who have been involved in helping to discern the right person to be the twelfth Bishop of Shrewsbury in the Church of England, and I would particularly like to thank the Advisory Group who have supported me in this quest.
I am delighted that Sarah has accepted our invitation to be nominated for this post. I know that in her we will be welcoming a caring and prayerful pastor, with an imaginative and energetic commitment to mission, a proven readiness to work with ecumenical and community partners in building up community, and a fine mind and warm heart firmly grounded in a deep Christian faith. I look forward to working closely with Sarah as a colleague and sister bishop, and I know that she will be received warmly by people in churches and communities in the Shrewsbury Episcopal Area and across the Diocese of Lichfield.
The Archdeacon of Salop, the Venerable Paul Thomas, said: It is a joy to welcome Sarah as the next Bishop of Shrewsbury and I look forward to working closely with her. I am sure that from her wealth of experience Sarah will bring many enriching gifts to us and will be received with enthusiasm and generous hospitality.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: I am most grateful to Her Majesty The Queen for her approval of the Venerable Sarah Bullock as the new Bishop Suffragan of Shrewsbury. Sarah is deeply committed to serving local communities, serving local people and will be sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with all whom she encounters. She has been a hardworking and effective Archdeacon of York since 2013. She is also an ambassador for children and young people. My prayer is that what Yorkshire has taught her, she will be enabled to pass onto other faithful people. Sarah, may you continually stir up the Holy Spirit who lives in you. You go to Shrewsbury with all our love and prayers.
Sarah will be consecrated as bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury at St Pauls Cathedral on 3 July and will begin her role in Shrewsbury shortly afterwards.
Photos of Sarah visiting churches and communities around Shropshire on the announcement day can be viewed here.