Announcement: New Bishop of Winchester

Announcement: New Bishop of Winchester

The next Bishop of Winchester will be the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, currently Bishop of Truro, Downing Street has announced today.

Bishop Philip will serve as the 98th Bishop of the Winchester Diocese, which covers 255 parishes across most of Hampshire and part of Dorset. He will be welcomed at a service of installation in Winchester Cathedral later this year.

Today (6 July), Bishop Philip will be introduced to representatives from across the Diocese of Winchester, first meeting students and staff at St Mark’s Church of England School in Southampton, before visiting the port chaplain at the Mission to Seafarers at Southampton Docks and being introduced to the crew on board a container ship. Bishop Philip will then spend time with representatives from the rural Benefice of Bright Waters, before concluding the day attending a service of Evensong at Winchester Cathedral.

The appointment marks a return to the diocese for Bishop Philip who was born in Hampshire and who studied English Literature at the University of Southampton where he came to Christian faith.

In a short video filmed for the diocese he describes how “being appointed as Bishop of Winchester has a very real sense of coming home to the place my faith was born and nurtured. My prayer is that as I rejoin the diocesan family that God will lead us together on a new adventure in serving his purposes, growing loving community, and building His Kingdom here in the Diocese of Winchester.”

Watch the full video here:

Following a short career in teaching, Bishop Philip was ordained in the diocese of Oxford in 1988, where he also served his curacy. From 1992 to 1998, he was the vicar of St James Church, West Streatham in the Diocese of Southwark. He has also held posts as Deputy General Director at the Church Pastoral Aid Society (CPAS), chaplain of St Michael’s Church, Paris, ministering in English and French and supporting the church’s Tamil refugee congregation, and CEO of the Church Mission Society (CMS). He has been the diocesan Bishop of Truro since 2018.

Bishop Philip is also deeply engaged with issues of Religious Freedom both nationally and internationally, having chaired a review into the Foreign Office’s response to global Christian persecution, leading recently to the passing of a new UN Security Council Resolution.

He says, “It’s been a great privilege to serve the Diocese of Truro, where my family roots are, but I’m delighted to have been invited now to serve as Bishop of Winchester, a place which has very great personal significance for me. I look forward very much to leading us all on in loving service of our God and of his world.”

Welcoming Bishop Philip to his new role, the Bishop of Southampton, the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin, said: “It is wonderful that Philip has agreed to become the next Bishop of Winchester. He brings rich experience, a warm heart and a gift for inspiring and communicating God’s grace. We already know him as a champion of the marginalised and under-represented and look forward to working with him.”

The Bishop of Basingstoke, the Right Reverend David Williams, said: “I am excited to be welcoming Philip to our Diocese. His enthusiasm and passion for proclaiming the gospel, together with his love of God and of his people, will ensure he is a great blessing to our churches and parishes.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “I am delighted that Bishop Philip Mounstephen has accepted the call to the See of Winchester. Bishop Philip has served the Diocese of Truro faithfully for five years and is well placed to lead the next stage of the life of the Diocese of Winchester. He brings a wealth of experience of parish ministry and public leadership. Bishop Philip is committed to working together with the Church and people of the whole Diocese to take forward the mission of God. He will also make a significant contribution as he takes his seat in the House of Lords, especially on issues of freedom of religion and belief”. 

Alastair Barron, Chair of the House of Laity, said, “‘I am delighted to welcome Bishop Philip to our Diocese and look forward to his warm and inspiring ministry amongst us as we build the Kingdom here in the Diocese of Winchester.”

Philip is married to Ruth, a strategic planner who has worked in the NHS, local government and charity sector, and they have a married daughter, Kitty. Philip and Ruth enjoy showing hospitality at home, travelling in France and further afield, and walking Noggin the Dog. Philip can also often be found searching through the racks in second-hand record shops, a habit he acquired while a student in Southampton.