Diocesan Newsletter

80th Bishop of Bath and Wells announced
Downing Street has announced today (10am, 28 April 2022) that the Rt Revd Michael Beasley will be the next Bishop of Bath and Wells. He is currently the Bishop of Hertford, a role which he has held since 2015.

Prior to taking a fulltime role with the church, Bishop Michael was an epidemiologist, a background he was called on to use during the pandemic as a member of the Church of England’s Covid task force.

Bishop Michael is already familiar with Somerset. His wife Lizzie is from a farming family from Somerset and prior to Bishop Michael being interviewed for the role of Bishop of Bath and Wells, they both undertook a 60 mile walk around the county.

Speaking in advance of today’s announcement, Bishop Michael shared his joy in becoming the 80th Bishop of Bath and Wells and said he was looking forward to getting to know the people of Somerset.

He says, “I am delighted to be coming to be the Bishop of Bath and Wells and to joining with everyone in the diocese as together we live and tell the story of Jesus.
“We have strong family connections with Somerset and I’m very much looking forward to working alongside its people, communities and churches.

“We have all been through a challenging few years. The Covid pandemic pushed us all apart. Now is the time to come back together. Our churches have an essential role in helping us rebuild communities and in facing the challenges present to us both internationally and at home.

“Jesus’s message is one of peace – a peace I’m looking forward to sharing and pursuing as I join you as your bishop.”

Before his ordination as Bishop of Hertford in the Diocese of St Albans, Bishop Michael served as Director of Mission in the Diocese of Oxford. A scientist by background, he was an epidemiologist specialising in infectious diseases of children in low-income countries.

As well as being a member of the Church of England’s Covid task force he also worked with UNICEF, the NHS, the Government and leaders of different faiths to launch vaccinaid.org which has raised more than £10 million in support of vaccination for low-income countries.
 
Commenting on his work on the taskforce he says, “I thought I'd left science behind but God never wastes anything! So in the last few years the skills I gained before have been of use to the Church now.”

Commenting on the news Bishop Ruth said, "I am very much looking forward to having him as my new colleague and to welcoming him and his family to Bath and Wells in due course."

Bishop Michael will spend the day meeting people from across Somerset.
You can keep up with the events of the day on our social media channels or on our website.
Bishop Michael's background

Brought up in rural Staffordshire, Bishop Michael attended a small Church of England primary school and a rural church. Bishop Michael was ordained in 1999 and until his appointment as Director of Mission in the Diocese of Oxford in 2010, he combined his scientific work 50:50 with work in Christian ministry as a missioner and theological educator.
 
The Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans said, “I am delighted to receive the news that Michael Beasley is to be the new Bishop of Bath and Wells. Michael has served with distinction as Suffragan Bishop of Hertford in this diocese since mid-2015, and he will leave an impressive and long-lasting legacy here.”

Bishop Michael and Lizzie have two young children. In his spare time, he enjoys tending his garden and his bees.
 
Watch Bishop Michael's message for the diocese.
A prayer for our new bishop

Gracious God,
we give you thanks for the wonderful ways
in which you gently guide our lives
in order to fulfil your purposes in us.
 
We give thanks for bringing us all to this day,
and for your continuing presence with us through times of change.
We give thanks especially for Bishop Michael’s coming to us.
May the coming days be filled with your blessing
as he begins to see something of the life of our Diocese,
and meets strangers who will become colleagues and friends.
 
Guide us all, we pray, through this coming time of preparation,
and pour the gifts of your Spirit upon him, his family, and on this Diocese.
Give to us all the grace of encouragement
as we wait in hope and trust for the unfolding of your plans for us,
that we may build up in one another the confidence
to respond to your call into the future.

AMEN