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New Bishop to the Forces announced

Wednesday 8th July 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has announced the appointment of the Rt Revd Dr Stephen Venner as Bishop to the Forces.

Dr Venner succeeds the Rt Revd David Conner, the Dean of Windsor who has served in this role since 2001.  Dr Venner will act on Dr Williams' behalf and carry out Episcopal duties within the UK's Armed Forces.  He will have pastoral oversight of Anglican Chaplains and the Anglican Church within the Forces.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said the role was a crucial contribution to the pastoral care of armed service personnel and their families:

"The pastoral care of those working in the Armed Services of our country is a serious responsibility for the Church of England, and the work of our Forces Chaplains and their Archdeacons is universally and rightly praised.  It is important to have generous, wise and experienced oversight for this ministry, and I am very glad indeed that Bishop Stephen Venner has agreed to take it on, in succession to Bishop David Conner, who has done so much in the last eight years to support and inspire those working in this most challenging of fields.  Bishop Stephen is a deeply valued and trusted colleague and I wish him every blessing in his new work."

The Rt Revd Stephen Venner said:

"I am really delighted and privileged to have been asked by the Archbishop to take on the responsibility of Bishop to Her Majesty's Forces.  Bishops John Kirkham and David Conner have worked hard and effectively over the years to support, encourage and enthuse chaplains and members of our armed forces of all ranks in the name of God and his Church.  I look forward to building on their work and being actively alongside the forces, as they face so many challenges at home and abroad."

Dr Venner will step down as Bishop of Dover this year, but will continue his role as Bishop for the Falkland Islands.

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