New bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich is named
PUBLISHED: 13:38 20 November 2014 | UPDATED: 13:52 20 November 2014
The new Bishop for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich is to be The Reverend Canon Martin Seeley, Downing Street announced.
Canon Seeley will be the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and is currently Principal at one of the Church of England’s leading theological colleges, Westcott House, Cambridge, a role he has held since September 2006.
Prior to this he served for ten years as the vicar of the Isle of Dogs in East London, a post the eighth bishop, the Rt Rev John Dennis had also held.
Canon Seeley brings a wealth of pastoral, educational and leadership experience, both in this country and in the United States and will take up his new role sometime after Easter next year.
Canon Seeley, 60, is married to Jutta Brueck, Priest-in-Charge of St James, Wulfstan Way, Cambridge and they have two children, Anna, 14, and Luke, 11.
Canon Seeley is likely to be the last bishop of the diocese chosen from a male only list.
He arrived in Suffolk with his wife yesterday, on St Edmunds Day, the day of the announcement, to visit Stowmarket’s first ever Church of England primary school, Trinity CEVAP School, where he told the story of St Edmund and was asked questions about his new role by the school children.
Trinity opened during September with 45 places in Reception, and will expand in due course to have 315 pupils.
Canon Seeley, whose interests include cooking, learning to play the tenor saxophone, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be coming to Suffolk. I preached my first sermon in Haverhill 40 years ago, and most recently, in August, preached in Wingfield in the Hoxne Benefice.
“Having lived next door in Cambridgeshire for a total of 13 years I have long been attracted to the sheer diversity of Suffolk, from the deep rural villages to growing towns like Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, to the beauty of the countryside and the gorgeous coastline.
“I am deeply aware that diversity also includes areas of prosperity and of poverty, and one of the gifts of the Church in Suffolk is to hold these differences together so that the whole community can flourish.
“I see one of my first tasks being listening and learning about the circumstances and needs of people across the county. I am very grateful to be coming to a diocese that is outward looking, committed to making a difference in our communities, and I will want to build on that.”
Canon Seeley, who is looking forward to serving Suffolk for the next ten years, chose to have his nomination announced at Trinity School, Stowmarket, because for him it embodies so much of what the diocese will be engaged in during his next decade in the county.
He said: “First, it is about young people, and our need to focus on how we share Christ’s love with young people.
“Many of us know from our own experience how vital contact with the church is, or has been, for us as youngsters. This was a priority for me in the Isle of Dogs where we had a full-time youth and children’s worker, and two youth employment workers, serving the needs of the young in the whole community as well as in church.
“Secondly, it is about education and schools. I am the son of a school teacher, and education has been in my blood from a very early age. I am passionate about it, both in working hard for the best possible education for our children and in that developing and strengthening church schools is a priority for me.
“Education for me also means all of us who are Christians learning and growing in our faith, and I would want to ensure that together we can grow in confidence in living and sharing our faith.”
The Very Reverend Dr Frances Ward, Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, who announced the name of the county’s new bishop during assembly, said: “As Dean of Suffolk’s Cathedral I am absolutely delighted with the announcement that Canon Martin Seeley will be the next Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.”
Canon Seeley, who met with colleagues at both the Diocesan Offices and Bishop’s House in Ipswich, and at the Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds, paid tribute to the Rt Revd Dr David Thomson who has been caring for the diocese on an interim basis as Acting Bishop.
He said: “I have known Bishop David since he came to Ely and I know how much his extraordinary ministry has been valued here.”