Document published to help identify the next Bishop of Rochester

Document published to help identify the next Bishop of Rochester

With the former Bishop of Rochester having retired in July 2021, the process to identify the next Bishop of Rochester is well underway. The Diocese of Rochester's Vacancy in See Committee - the group that manages and oversees the Diocese’s role in the process - has published its Statement of Needs.

The document helps tell the story of the Diocese of Rochester, and incorporates views that were gathered as part of a public consultation across Medway, north and west Kent, and the London Boroughs of Bromley and Bexley, which make up the Diocese of Rochester.

The Statement of Needs will be read by candidates as well as by the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), the national body that will interview candidates and ultimately nominate someone to be the next Bishop of Rochester. The CNC will make their nomination to the Prime Minister who, if he accepts, will advise Her Majesty the Queen, who will formally appoint the next Bishop of Rochester.

The document states:

As, like the nation, we slowly emerge from a pandemic that has hurt so many, we trust that our new Bishop will lead us with energy, vision, and a gentleness of relationship, as we navigate this changing landscape.

The Rev Canon Mark Barker, Chair of Vacancy in See Committee said:

I want to thank everyone who took part in the process to 'Help us find a new Bishop'. The response from across the Diocese was fantastic and has been instrumental in helping create this Statement of Needs.

Capturing, as this documents does, the vibrancy and diversity found in our Diocese, as well as the opportunities and challenges we face, means it will be of huge help to the Crown Nominations Committee who take this work forward.

We thank God for his guidance, wisdom and presence with us throughout this time of engagement so far, and pray now for the continued help of the Holy Spirit for those now involved in identifying the next Bishop of Rochester.

  • You can read the Statement of Needs here


More information

Why the need for a Vacancy in See process

When a diocesan bishop leaves their role in the Church of England, the mechanism used to find and appoint the next bishop is called the Vacancy in See process.

Our Vacancy in See process began in 2020, following the announcement of the retirement of the previous Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev James Langstaff - Bishop James retired in July 2021.

The Consultation 

As part of the process to identify the next Bishop of Rochester a diocesan wide consultation took place. This included engagement across a variety of settings and with diocesan and church role holders, parishes and schools. We even hit the streets of towns across the area of the Diocese to ask the general public their views.

We produced a dedicated set of activities for children and young people to allow them to share their views, and a film to help them understand the role of a bishop.

The Diocese of Rochester's Vacancy in See Committee

The Diocesan Vacancy in See Committee manages and oversees the Diocese’s role in the process. It is made up of elected members of clergy and lay people from across the diocese as well as ex officio members- some senior church leaders and all our General Synod representatives.

The Rev Canon Mark Barker, Vicar of St Stephen's, Tonbridge is Chair of the Committee, Sarah Poole of Christ Church, Beckenham is Vice Chair, and Matthew Girt, Diocesan Secretary is the Committee Secretary.

Find out who else is on the Committee here.

Diocesan Representatives on the Crown Nominations Committee

The six representatives from the Diocese of Rochester who have been elected to join the Crown Nominations Committee are:

  • Mrs Sarah Poole 
  • Miss Lynne Parkinson
  • The Rev Andrew McClellan
  • Mr Gerry O'Brien
  • Mr Philip French
  • The Very Rev'd Dr Philip Hesketh
Next steps

It is hoped that a new Bishop of Rochester will be appointed in 2022