Stockport's new bishop announced
THE new Bishop of Stockport is to be the Revd Robert Atwell, an author, spiritual director and former monk.
He is currently Vicar of St Mary's in Primrose Hill, London.
His appointment was formally announced today, April 7, by the Prime Minister's office with a simultaneous public launch at Stockport Town Hall.
He will begin preparations within the next few weeks for his role as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Chester.
Mr Atwell is single and aged 53. He was born and raised in Ilford, Essex Before becoming a vicar in 1998, he spent six years as Chaplain of Trinity College, Cambridge, and 10 years as a Benedictine monk in Burford Priory in the Cotswolds.
After arriving at Stockport Town Hall to meet local church and civic leaders, Mr Atwell said: "I am delighted to be coming here and look forward to working in partnership with people right across the area. Together I believe we can make a difference.
I want the Church to be at the heart of our local communities, not the periphery. "
In his new role Mr Atwell will assist the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, in leading the Diocese of Chester.
He will be working predominantly in its eastern half, comprising Stockport and Macclesfield boroughs, parts of rural Cheshire, some of the urban areas fringing the south of Manchester, and a small part of Derbyshire.
Bishop Peter said: "Robert Atwell will bring to the Diocese of Chester a rich experience of ministry in a range of places, from a Cambridge college, a monastic community, and a busy north London parish. He has published influential books in Christian spirituality, and will be well placed to join the leadership of the Church of England in this Diocese. I welcome his appointment and look forward to his consecration in York Minster on 24 June."
The Mayor of Stockport, Councillor June Somekh, said: "I'm delighted to welcome the Revd Robert Atwell to our borough. It is very good to know that he has a strong commitment to helping young people and to working in partnership to create flourishing communities."
John Schultz, the Chief Executive of Stockport Council, added: "I am sure that Robert Atwell will enjoy what I hope is a very fruitful association with Stockport and the surrounding area. He will definitely find a warm welcome here when he arrives as bishop, and a willingness on the part of the Council and our partners to work with him and other faith leaders in creating a good and sustainable society where people have the help and services they need to live in safety, and with dignity and respect."
During his ministry in Primrose Hill, Mr Atwell extended the church building to create community facilities and he set up a social inclusion project working with some of the most disaffected and marginalised young people in the London Borough of Camden. Under his leadership St Mary's congregation has grown considerably.
He has published extensively, most recently three anthologies: Gift, Love, and Remember - readings respectively about birth, marriage, and death and bereavement. He also compiled the readings Celebrating the Saints and Celebrating the Seasons to accompany the Church of England's calendar.
Mr Atwell believes that it is only by going deeper and discovering the presence of God that we can find that inner peace and contentment for which we long.
He will be ordained a bishop in York Minster on 24 June, and be welcomed to the Diocese of Chester on 29th June at a special service in Chester Cathedral.
A keen hill-walker, Mr Atwell said: "I relish the opportunity to immerse myself in some of the spectacular local landscapes. And as someone who enjoys traditional English beer, I am also very pleased to be moving to an area known for its brewing excellence. I am particularly keen to try a pint of Robinson's bitter."
Ends Jpg caption 2556a: The Revd Robert Atwell who will become the Bishop of Stockport in June.
2556b: Logo of the Diocese of Chester.