Archdeacon Julie Conalty announced as the next Bishop of Birkenhead

Downing Street has announced on Thursday 27 May, that the Queen has approved the nomination of The Venerable Julie Conalty, Archdeacon of Tonbridge, as the next Suffragan Bishop of  Birkenhead, in the Diocese of Chester.
 
Responding to the announcement, Archdeacon Julie says:

"This probably comes as a surprise to people, just as it came as a surprise to me. I wasn't seeking to leave my current post as Archdeacon of Tonbridge quite so soon, but it seems God may have had other ideas.

"While I have a strong sense of calling to this new role, I am also very sad to be leaving the Diocese of Rochester."

In a video message Julie has recorded for the Diocese, she offers her thanks to all those she has worked with, and asks for prayers as she prepares for this calling.

 

 

"I have loved ministering in this Diocese alongside such brilliant lay and ordained colleagues and I want to thank you all for the support, encouragement and challenge that you have provided me over the last few years.

"I have to admit to feeling a little daunted at this time. What Chester has asked for is bishops who keep survivors central to their safeguarding work, the lost central to their mission work, and Christ central to all that they are.

"Please pray for me and the Bishop of Stockport-designate as we prepare for this calling."

Survivors and campaigners of Church-context abuse welcome Archdeacon Julie's appointment

Archdeacon Julie Conalty's appointment has been welcomed by victim and survivor campaigners of Church-context abuse, as “one of very few senior figures who recognises that corruption in the Church needs to be faced.”

In a move one campaigner-survivor sees as indicative of Julie’s commitment to ensuring the voice of victims and survivors is heard, is that he was invited by Julie to be one of her referees for the Birkenhead post. 

Gilo, who is co-editor of Letters to a Broken Church, and who has previously helped Archdeacon Julie write a set of prayers for survivors of church-context abuse, says:

“I think many of us are confident that Julie will help accelerate change in the Church. She takes the need for culture and structure change and the need for justice and rebuilding of lives very seriously.”

Read more on this here
 
Bishop James assures Julie of the prayers of the whole diocese

Bishop James has also warmly welcomed the news of Archdeacon Julie's appointment:

"Archdeacon Julie has given a huge amount to our Diocese in a relatively short amount of time, serving first as vicar of Christ Church Erith and Area Dean of Erith.  She's also been my adviser for the Ministry of Ordained Women, and alongside being Archdeacon of Tonbridge, has held the significant role of Bishop's Lead for Safeguarding.

"Her own passion and desire to see Safeguarding work taken seriously has been of huge importance, changing not just processes, but also culture within the Diocese. She would agree there is still a long way to go, but her contribution in this area has been hugely valuable.

"We assure her of our prayers as she takes on this new ministry."

Bishop James will be writing shortly to those within the Archdeaconry of Tonbridge to explain future arrangements.

Details of Julie's consecration will be published in due course.

 

Background 
 
Julie was educated at the University of Sheffield and trained for ministry at the South East Institute of Theological Education. She served her title at St Michael the Archangel in East Wickham in the Diocese of Southwark and was ordained Priest in 2000.

Julie was appointed non-stipendiary minister at St Luke, St Richard and St Thomas, Charlton in 2004 and became Associate Priest at the Ascension and at St Mark with St Margaret, Plumstead in 2010.  
 
Julie moved to the Diocese of Rochester in 2012 when she was appointed Vicar at Christ Church Erith. She took up her current role as Archdeacon of Tonbridge in 2017.  

She held the position of the Bishop of Rochester’s Lead for Safeguarding for three years. She has also been a member of the General Synod of the Church of England since November 2013.
 




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