New Bishop set to meet communities online

The Right Reverend Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, who has been announced as the next Bishop of Chelmsford

The Right Reverend Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, who has been announced as the next Bishop of Chelmsford - Credit: Diocese of Chelmsford

The new Bishop of Chelmsford will be meeting the residents of Essex and its church communities online.

Downing Street has announced that the Right Reverend Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani will be the next Bishop of Chelmsford, succeeding the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, who became Archbishop of York earlier this year.

Bishop Guli - currently Bishop of Loughborough in the Diocese of Leicester - is the first diocesan bishop to be chosen via Zoom.

Bishop Guli said “It is a great privilege to be appointed as the next Bishop of Chelmsford. I know there are many challenges ahead both in the church and wider society, not least as a result of the pandemic.

"However, I am hopeful about the future. As Christian communities, I believe our task is to be faithful; to share the good news of Jesus Christ and to continue serving the world; to work well together and in partnership with others. In doing this, we’ll discover the extent of God’s love.

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“I want to thank my friends and colleagues in Leicester Diocese where I have been very happy. I will be sad to say goodbye, but at the same time I am very excited about this next chapter in my ministry.”

Bishop Guli will be introduced to the diocese through a series of videos, online meetings and online worship.

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She said: “This has been the first selection process for a diocesan bishop that has taken place entirely on Zoom and I will continue to be using Zoom today as I am introduced to people across the diocese.

"However, I’m very much looking forward to visiting Essex and East London in the New Year, to meeting people face to face and discussing how we build on the outstanding work that our churches have done to support their communities during the pandemic.”

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said: “I am delighted that Bishop Guli will be the new Bishop of Chelmsford. Her love for the local church, combined with her international experience and commitment to justice, will be a gift to this diverse and exciting diocese."

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