New Bishop of Monmouth consecrated
More than 400 people packed into Brecon Cathedral today to celebrate the consecration of the new Bishop of Monmouth.
Bishop Cherry Vann was consecrated as the 11th Bishop of Monmouth following the confirmation of her election earlier this month.
She was elected Bishop by the Electoral College of the Church in Wales in September. Prior to that she was Archdeacon of Rochdale in the Diocese of Manchester for 11 years.
The congregation at the consecration service included invited people from churches across Wales, the Diocese of Manchester, serving and retired bishops and civic dignitaries. It took place at Brecon Cathedral as it is the seat of the current Archbishop of Wales, John Davies.
Bishop Cherry was led into the Cathedral by a number of processions which included those of the bishops, other clergy, diocesan registrars and chancellors.
During the service, she was consecrated by the Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, and all the other bishops present. She was then anointed with holy oil and presented with the symbols of her office: a bishop’s episcopal ring, a pectoral cross and mitre, as well as a Bible and a pastoral staff.
The address was given by Bishop Cherry’s friend, the Revd Robert Lawrence, a member of The Society of St Francis from the Diocese of Newcastle.
Paying tribute to Bishop Cherry’s ministry, including her work as a musician and as a chaplain to deaf people, he said, “What has characterised Cherry’s ministry has been to work positively with those who see things differently, for example her willingness to work with those who have been against the ordination of women, and (more recently) on the Pastoral Advisory Group on how the Church of England attends to human sexuality. Their recently formulated pastoral principles provide a powerful digest for the ministry of reconciliation to which we are called: acknowledging prejudice, speaking into silence, addressing ignorance, casting out fear, admitting hypocrisy and paying attention to power. Cherry's formation and experience (as well as her insight and spiritual resources) equip her to lead on Mission and to be an ambassador of Christ, which (as for any of us!) means turning up and getting involved in the hard stuff.”
He then called on the Church to heal divisions, saying, “A bishop is a point of unity, except that in the church today we seem to find disunity when the bishop is a woman in a church where not everyone accepts the leadership of women, or when the bishop is in a same sex civil partnership in a church where not everyone accepts gay relationships, and where the bishop is English in a Welsh diocese. More importantly we live in a nation whose divisions have been revealed by Brexit, where inequality of opportunity grows, and where the consequences of relentless consumption upon the climate and the natural resources of the planet affect the poorest communities hardest. The church will become part of the solution when it is present, when it engages with the toughest parts, and in so doing allows itself to be transformed, becoming one with those amongst whom it works.”
Archbishop John said, “I am looking forward enormously to working with Cherry. She has wide experience, great gifts and a huge amount to contribute to the life, not only to the Diocese of Monmouth, but also to the wider Church in Wales.”
Bishop Cherry said, “I am very much looking forward to responding to God's call to serve the people of Monmouth Diocese as their Bishop. I ask for your prayers as I move and prepare to take up this new role.”
Bishop Cherry will be now be enthroned at Newport Cathedral on February 1st at 11am.
Journey of ministry
Originally from Leicestershire, Cherry Vann served as Archdeacon of Rochdale, in the Diocese of Manchester, for 11 years. She trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge, and was ordained as a deacon in 1989. Among the first women to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1994, she served in the Diocese of Manchester, in Flixton, Bolton and Farnworth and latterly across Ashton, Oldham and Rochdale. She was also an honorary canon of Manchester Cathedral and a former chaplain to Deaf people.
Bishop Cherry has held senior posts in the governance of the Church of England. She has been Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York and an ex-officio member of the Archbishops’ Council.
A talented pianist, Bishop Cherry is both an Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM) and a Graduate of the Royal Schools of Music. She was conductor of the Bolton Chamber Orchestra for more than 20 years. Bishop Cherry lives with her civil partner Wendy and their two dogs, Macallan and Sadie.