“As Bishop of Aston, Bishop Andrew has made an outstanding contribution to the life of the Church of England across the Diocese of Birmingham. In addition to sharing diocesan-wide episcopal ministry he has developed and overseen our Transforming Church strategy 'growing churches at the heart of each community' with the latest stage, 'Growing Younger' already resourced and launched.
Andrew's preaching and teaching have been particularly well-received across our diverse parishes and churches. I have appreciated personally his loyal support, prayerful insight and energetic focus on gospel priorities. He moves to Guildford in the next few months with my profound gratitude, continuing friendship and prayers for this new and exciting stage of his service to Jesus Christ.”
Downing Street has announced today that the next Bishop of Guildford will be the Rt Revd Andrew Watson.
Bishop Andrew (53), who has been Bishop of Aston since 2008, will be installed in a service at Guildford Cathedral in February 2015 as the tenth Bishop of Guildford.
Here's a message from Bishop Andrew:
"Today it’s been announced that I am to be the new Bishop of Guildford. Beverly and I are spending the day in the Guildford Diocese, visiting the Church of the Good Shepherd in Farnborough and the Priory School in Dorking, meeting with senior staff and diocesan personnel, and finishing the day with evensong in the Cathedral.
We’re not quite sure about the timing of our move as yet, although Beverly will be continuing her ministry in the parish of Salter Street and Shirley until the end of June 2015, not least to see our youngest child Lydia through her GCSEs. We’re envisaging that I will move some months before that, though we’re definitely not looking forward to living apart!
There will be future opportunities to thank everyone – but our six years in Birmingham have been wonderful. We’ve hugely appreciated the warmth and generosity of so many people across the Diocese, the rich multi-cultural nature of so many of our congregations (a real taste of heaven on earth on occasions), the quality of so much of the discipleship we’ve encountered, and the privilege of working with such able and supportive colleagues.
It’s been particularly inspiring to hear the stories of many hundreds of new Christians in the moments leading up to their confirmations, and to see our churches rise to the challenge of reaching out into their communities in fresh ways, seeking – in the strapline of our Transforming Church initiative – to ‘grow churches at the heart of each community’. The source of that missional energy has been a winning combination of the presence of the Holy Spirit among us and a humble willingness to learn from one another - such a refreshing contrast to the almost naked competitiveness which we’ve sometimes encountered elsewhere. The warm fellowship among the clergy, and the sense that (to coin a phrase) we’re ‘better together’ has also been refreshing - and long may it continue, whatever the challenges to our unity we face along the way!
I’m moving on from Birmingham at an exciting time, but am grateful to be leaving my areas of responsibility (not least the future trajectory of Transforming Church) in safe hands. In the months up till Christmas, I will work with my colleagues in fleshing out the Growing Younger vision further, so as to seek to ensure the foundations are well laid when it’s time for me to go.
Guildford will present new and rather different challenges from Birmingham, of course, though Jesus’ call to ‘Follow me’ relates equally to every community and culture. It’s as followers ourselves that Beverly and I embrace this new challenge, in the strong conviction for us all, that ‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’.