THE Rt Rev Peter Hancock has been announced as the next Bishop of Bath and Wells, replacing Peter Price who retired at the end of June after 11 years. He becomes the 79th Bishop of Bath and Wells.
His appointment follows 3 years’ service as Bishop of Basingstoke; before that he was Archdeacon on the Meon in the Diocese of Portsmouth for 11 years.
Following the announcement of his appointment by Downing Street, he is touring the diocese, beginning in Taunton and then travelling to Bath and Wiltshire. Bishop Peter said, “I am looking forward to leading the Diocese of Bath and Wells and joining and supporting the strong Christian voice already present across the region. I am delighted to be coming here; it’s a wonderful part of the country. It will be a great privilege to meet all who live and work here in Somerset, to hear people’s stories and to discover all that God is doing in their lives.”
Bishop Peter describes “three threads” as central to his ministry: a “real passion” for the countryside and environmental issues, encouraging children and young people and supporting the homeless and most vulnerable in society. As a parish priest in Portsmouth, Bishop Peter was involved in youth work and setting up venture holidays for young people. He was also district scout chaplain and aims to continue his long association with Scouting and Guiding. He said, “Supporting our children and young people has long been central to my ministry. I’m encouraged by the work that the diocese does to support our 180 church schools and engaging with our schools, colleges and universities will be one of my priorities.”
Bishop Peter was born in Kent in 1955 but grew up on the Isle of Wight before his family moved to Fareham, Hampshire when he was aged 11. He has a degree in natural sciences and is a member of the Society of Ordained Scientists, retaining an interest in the relationship between science and Christianity.
A keen walker who has rarely lived far from the sea, he says he is looking forward to exploring Somerset’s coastline with his wife Jane and their two golden retrievers.
Rt Rev Peter Hancock will be formally enthroned at Wells Cathedral in 2014. He will work at the Bishop’s Palace alongside the Bishop of Taunton, the Rt Rev Peter Maurice, who has warmly welcomed the announcement. He said: “We all very much look forward to welcoming Bishop Peter and Jane into the life of the diocese. Bath and Wells has a culture of partnership in ministry, and Bishop Peter takes up the leadership here with the prayers of us all as we work together to face the challenges that await us. We strive to be an outward-facing church, and Bishop Peter’s background in mission and ministry will be an encouragement to us in our parishes, schools and chaplaincies. I know he will also want to engage with the wider communities of Somerset when he takes up his new role with us.”
Rev Tim Treanor, Rector of St John’s Church, welcomed the appointment: “I am delighted to hear that Bishop Peter has been appointed as the 79th Bishop of Bath and Wells. I look forward to working with him. In the meantime, we will be praying for him and his family as they prepare to leave their current home and ministry and move to Wells.”