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Welcoming the next Bishop of Salisbury

by Michael Ford last modified 13 Jan, 2022 05:49 PM

The winter sun shone brightly on children and young people gathered with their teachers outside the Diocesan Education Centre in Wilton to welcome the next Bishop of Salisbury.

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester, arrived with his wife Carol and son Joe, just after Downing Street announced that the Queen has approved his nomination for election as the 79th Bishop of the Diocese, succeeding the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam who retired last July.

Dean Stephen was welcomed by children from the three schools - St Peter’s CE Primary Academy, Wilton CE Primary School and Wimborne Queen Elizabeth’s CE VC Secondary School (WAT).

Acting Bishop of Salisbury and Bishop of Sherborne, the Rt Rev Karen Gorham, welcomed the Dean’s ‘creative gifts of leadership’ and Joy Tubbs, Director of Education for the Diocese Board of Education said the children represented the 42,000 across the Diocese.

Liz West, CEO of Wimborne Academy Trust said she was ‘truly delighted’ to welcome Dean Stephen and hoped he would listen to young people.

Dean Stephen started by doing just that, listening to them one by one. He explained how the Diocese of Salisbury had ‘found me, formed me & gave me a foundation for parish ministry’

He then returned to his roots, meeting his father on the quayside at Poole, and visiting both the Genesis Centre and Jimmy’s Foodbank. In a moving prayer session at St James’s Church, Canon Peter Huxham, who was Stephen’s parish priest and helped him consider ministry when his ‘boyhood dream’ of flying for the Royal Navy went out of the window due to his colour blindness – prayed, along with the Rev Andy Perry, Chair of the House of Clergy and parish priest at Longfleet St Mary.

Dean Stephen donned his wellies for a visit to Shrewton, Wiltshire, where farmers Ellie and Andy Grant showed him the field to fork process of producing their award winning Magnificent Seed rapeseed oil.

With a backdrop of their tractor, he was interviewed by the BBC Points West team, before travelling down the road to meet Mrs Alison Kay, headteacher of Shrewton CE primary school,  Jo Hicks from DSAT & church wardens and representatives from St Mary’s Shrewton in the church to welcome Dean Stephen to their rural community.’

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