New bishop appointed for Brighton and Hove

Posted On 03 May 2012 at 3:00 pm

A new bishop has been appointed for Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area.

The Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner, 53, is the new Bishop of Chichester, who will serve the people and churches of Sussex.

He is currently the Suffragan Bishop of Whitby in the diocese of York, having taken up his post there in 2010.

He takes over responsibility for the diocese of Chichester from the Right Reverend John Hind, who retired last month.

Bishop Martin Warner

Like Bishop John and the late Eric Kemp before him, Dr Warner is not expected to ordain women priests but he is expected to be supportive to those who serve throughout the diocese.

No date has been set yet for the new bishop’s enthronement at Chichester Cathedral or for him to start work at the diocesan headquarters, Church House in Hove.

The appointment was announced today (Thursday 3 May) by 10 Downing Street and followed a consultation with the churches and parishioners of Sussex.

One of the most common responses was the desire for an outsider to be appointed to lead the Church of England locally.

He said today: “It is a daunting and exciting challenge to be asked to serve the people of Sussex as the next Bishop of Chichester.

“I look forward very much to learning more about the mission in which we shall be engaging together, though it will be a big wrench leaving the North East so soon.”

Dr Warner studied at St Chad’s College in Durham before completing his theological training at St Stephen’s House, Oxford.

He was ordained as a deacon in 1984 and as a priest in 1985 in Exeter Cathedral while working as curate of St Peter’s Plymouth.

He moved north to the Midlands in 1988 to be team vicar for five years in the Parish of the Resurrection, Leicester.

He was the priest administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham from 1993 to 2002. During his time in Norfolk he was also priest in charge of Hempton and Pudding Norton from 1998 to 2000 and honorary canon of Norwich from 2000 to 2002.

Dr Warner was then appointed as a residentiary canon of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, firstly as canon pastor and later treasurer. His contribution included liaising with the art world on behalf of the cathedral from 2003 to 2010.

He was selected as Suffragan Bishop of Whitby in 2010 and served the parishes of the Cleveland archdeaconry. These include the contrasting communities of Middlesbrough and much of the North Yorkshire Moors.

Dr Warner is a regular contributor to the Church Times and has written five books.

The Church of England said that he is a cyclist, enjoys the arts and is known for his hospitality – an art he honed when welcoming pilgrims to England’s Nazareth, as Walsingham is known.

Bishop Martin Warner with the Rev Archie Coates, Vicar of St Peter's Church Brighton - Picture by Brighton Togs

Dr Warner is a traditionalist who the Church of England said had worked to encourage provision in which people of all integrities can remain together.

He was said to have worked closely with the women priests among his colleagues at St Paul’s Cathedral. And he sought to serve with equal care the ordained men and women in his episcopal patch in the north of England.

The Right Reverend Mark Sowerby, the Acting Bishop of Chichester, said: “I am delighted that Dr Martin Warner, whom I have known for many years, is to be the new Bishop of Chichester.

“I believe that he will lead us with the effervescent energy and clarity that has always been distinctive of his ministry.

“I very much look forward to working alongside him in the service of the church and people of Sussex”.

The Very Reverend Nicholas Frayling, the Dean of Chichester, said: “These are challenging times for the church and for its bishops.

“The dean and chapter and all at the cathedral look forward to welcoming Bishop Martin and assure him of our prayers and good wishes as he prepares for his new ministry in Chichester.”

The Reverend Alastair Cutting, chairman of the General Synod’s House of Clergy, said: “We’re excited to welcome Bishop Martin as our new bishop.

“He brings a deep commitment to the breadth of the Church of England, with a track record of drawing together a wide spectrum of theological views and positions.

“He loves cinema, art and architecture and is a gifted communicator with dynamism and personality.

“He’s a keen supporter of mission and community engagement and we look forward to his leadership across the Chichester diocese.”

Brian Hanson, chairman of the House of Laity, said today: “We welcome Bishop Martin who comes with a reputation as a fine preacher and teacher of the faith.

“His experience, both as a canon of St Paul’s Cathedral and as a bishop of an area with large conurbations and tracts of countryside, will be a great assistance to him in his future ministry in East and West Sussex and the city of Brighton and Hove.”

Dr Warner has written a number of books. They include Walsingham, an Ever-circling Year (1996), Say Yes to God (1999), The Habit of Holiness (2004), Known to the Senses (2004) and Between Heaven and Charing Cross (2009).

His doctorate was entitled Virginity Matters: power and ambiguity in the attraction of the Virgin Mary.

Last week Lord Luce who, as Richard Luce served as the MP for Shoreham, was appointed chairman of the Crown Nominations Commission as it sets about selecting the next Archbishop of Canterbury.


  1. BH Reply

    Wow, this is entirely relevant to everything in everyday life in Brighton & Hove.

    No-one cares about the church. Thanks.

  2. ord friday eke Reply

    I pray that the lord will give us a man after his mind in the Anglican communion who will lead us aright.the issue of homosexual must go.

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