New bishop pledges to ‘serve community’

THE NEW Bishop of Brixworth has said he wants to ‘serve the whole community’.

Canon John Holbrook, who is currently the Rector of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, will be the next Suffragan Bishop of Brixworth.

Canon Holbrook, 48, has also served in Barnes, Bletchley, and Adderbury near Banbury. He says his faith came alive through the ministry of a former curate in Corby who was leading a summer youth camp.

Canon Holbrook said: “The appointment process has taken some time from the first, completely unexpected, message from Bishop Donald inviting me to come for an interview, through to the final telephone call from 10 Downing Street, which I took on my mobile while browsing the books in an Oxfam shop.

“Being asked to be a bishop is a daunting calling and it is absolutely vital to be sure that this is what God wants.

“I don’t think anyone feels worthy of such a task and I will certainly need everyone’s prayers and patience.

“I will try to be a bishop for everyone; churchgoers, those of other faiths and those of no faith at all.

“Many who don’t themselves pray are deeply committed to those values of a just society, a peaceful world and a healthy environment that are in my mind when praying: ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.’

“I look forward to serving the whole community.”

Cannon Holbrook went to school in Bristol before attending Oxford Univerity. His wife Elizabeth grew up near Rugby, and the couple have two children, Anna, currently taking her GCSEs, and Thomas, a student at Durham University.

The Bishop of Brixworth is in effect the assistant bishop in the Diocese of Peterborough, which oversees some 360 churches across Northamptonshire, Rutland and the city of Peterborough.

He replaces the Rt Rev Frank White who moved to become Assistant Bishop of Newcastle in November.

In welcoming Canon Holbrook to the diocese the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, said: “I met John for the first time when his name was put forward as a possible successor to Bishop Frank White.

“Having met and talked with him at length since, I cannot think of anyone better suited for Peterborough Diocese at this time. John brings to us key skills and a rich experience as a parish priest.

“His warm manner, pastoral sensitivity and inclusive concerns will contribute greatly to the care of our clergy and lay leaders across all traditions of the church as they too face the challenges of the Christian mission in today’s world.”

It is expected Canon Holbrook will be ordained as a bishop in Westminster Abbey on June 2, and officially installed in Peterborough Cathedral on St Peter’s Day, June 29.