At 10am this morning (30 June) Downing Street announced that the Venerable Ruth Worsley is to be the next Bishop of Taunton in the Diocese of Bath and Wells.
Ruth is currently Archdeacon of Wilts in the neighbouring Diocese of Salisbury, a position she has held since January 2013.
Archdeacon Ruth is “delighted to be heading to Somerset” as the 13th Bishop of Taunton, as you can hear in her media interviews and video message.
BBC Somerset’s Ben McGrail interviews Archdeacon Ruth just after the announcement of her appointment as the next Bishop of Taunton. Listen to the audio below.
BBC Somerset’s Emma Britton met Archdeacon Ruth at YMCA Somerset Coast. Listen to the audio below.
Introducing the Venerable Ruth Worsley
After her ordination in 1996, Ruth served for fourteen years as a parish priest in Nottingham in one of the poorest areas in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. During this time she served as an Area Dean and was made Dean of Women’s Ministry for the diocese in 2007. In 2010 she took on the role of Parish Development Adviser in the Diocese of Southwark, based in Bermondsey. In 2013 she swapped inner-city life for Wiltshire.
Speaking in advance of today’s announcement, Ruth said, “I am surprised and amused to be chosen as the next Bishop of Taunton as I grew up in a non-conformist church where women held no roles of leadership. I am delighted to be heading to Somerset to join the diocesan team in this wonderful part of the world, moving ‘next door’ as it were. It will be a great privilege to meet and serve everyone who lives and works in the county.”
“In a diocese with such a mix of rural and more urban parishes, each I’m sure with its own distinct personality, I’m really keen to experience how our churches and the diocese are meeting those different needs. And how we can engage in the process of transformation, one which changes lives, both our own and others, and then influences the way in which we are ‘Church’ and brings about a renewed sense of community.”
Reflecting on the atrocities in Tunisia, Ruth added, “In the light of the pain of the past few days we can all see the need to build bridges and forge relationships which will heal hurt, stand firm in the face of evil, and ensure that God’s compassionate love and justice are expressed in our lives.”
Ruth’s first engagement as Bishop of Taunton-designate will be a tour of the YMCA’s George Williams Centre at Bridgwater, which supports local young people without a safe place to stay by providing accommodation, advice and counselling as well as encouraging the wellbeing of the local community with everyday opportunities to get active. Ruth will then travel to Churchfield Primary School, a Church of England Academy in Highbridge to meet school children and staff.
Welcoming Ruth, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells said, “I am delighted by this appointment. Ruth is going to bring a wealth of experience in town and country to her new role as Bishop of Taunton. I look forward to sharing in the service of Christ with her and know our parishes, schools, chaplaincies and all our communities will benefit from the gifts she brings.
“The mission of the Church will be greatly enhanced through Ruth’s contribution to the leadership of the diocese as together we seek God’s vision for the people and places of Somerset.”
Ruth will be ordained and consecrated as a Bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby in London this autumn. She will then be officially installed as Bishop of Taunton in Wells Cathedral later this year. Ruth will live in Wells and work from the Bishops’ Office at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells, alongside Bishop Peter Hancock.
- The Bishop of Taunton’s role is that of a Suffragan Bishop. Ruth’s role will be to support the Bishop of Bath and Wells, who is the Diocesan Bishop, much akin to a deputy.
- Some key facts about Ruth:
- Aged 53. Ruth was born in Hampton, Middlesex in 1962 and grew up under the flight path of Heathrow airport in Ashford and Staines.
- Attended the University of Manchester and St John’s College, Nottingham.
- Ordained in 1996
- Currently Archdeacon of Wilts, since 2013
- Married to Howard, Vice-Principal at Trinity College, Bristol. They have three adult sons.
- Ruth will become the 13th Bishop of Taunton