The Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton, studied English Literature, Theological Studies and Biblical Studies at the University of Manchester. After this, whilst training as a nurse at Tameside General Hospital in the 1980s and considering specialising in acute psychiatry, Ruth felt a calling to pastoral lay ministry and took on a voluntary role in pastoral care at her local church.
Following the family’s move to Nottingham in 1990, she began her MA in Mission and Ministry, later serving as Chaplain to spouses and families of students in training at St John’s Theological College. In 1995 she embarked on her own ordination training at St John’s.
After ordination in 1996, Ruth served for twelve years as a parish priest in Nottingham, first as a curate and then as priest in charge. During this time, she also became Area Dean for one of the poorest areas in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.
Bishop Ruth was made Dean of Women’s Ministry for this diocese in 2007 and served again as a parish priest and Area Dean until 2010 when she took on the role of Parish Development Adviser in the Diocese of Southwark, based in Bermondsey. During this time she was also appointed as Honorary Chaplain to the Queen – a position from which she resigned on becoming a Bishop. In 2013 Bishop Ruth swapped inner-city life for Wiltshire when appointed Archdeacon of Wiltshire in the Diocese of Salisbury.
She was consecrated a bishop at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, 19 years to the day after being ordained a deacon on 29th September 2015. She was formally installed as the Bishop of Taunton at Wells Cathedral in October 2015.
Bishop Ruth’s personal ministry is driven by a care for the most vulnerable in our society and from that, striving to work with other faith groups and organisations to give them the right kind of support. In Nottingham this was demonstrated in her work as Trustee and Chair of a project to work with young families in a hugely disadvantaged area, as well as being a member of the Professional Services Committee for Relate, Nottingham. It also led to her role as founding member of the Nottingham Arimathea Trust, a project which provides shelter for destitute Asylum Seekers.
From her experience of urban parishes, Bishop Ruth also has a keen interest in regeneration and what that means for local communities.
She was born in Hampton, Middlesex in 1962 and grew up under the flight path of Heathrow airport in Ashford and Staines.
Bishop Ruth is married to Howard, who was ordained in 1993 and is currently Vice Principal at Trinity College Bristol. They have three adult sons: Nathanael, Jonathan and Benjamin. Ruth describes her husband and sons as “outdoorsy” and whilst she does enjoy walking and the outdoors, you are just as likely to find her curled up with a good book, or playing the saxophone, “badly” according to Ruth.