Belonging in, praying for, and caring for people and parishes in Stepney Area is the core of Bishop Joanne’s role. She is also the lead bishop for safeguarding on behalf of Bishop Sarah; works alongside Bishop Graham in supporting the work of the Compassionate Communities team; and, with Monica Bolley, chairs the Racial Justice Priority Group. Here are some of the key events and commitments in Bishop Joanne’s diary over the last couple of months:


  • Confirmations at St Andrew N16, All Saints Poplar, St Clement King Square, St Michael and All Angels London Fields; Remembrance Day at St John’s Brownswood Park; the licencing of Revd Darius Weithers at St Paul’s Old Ford, of Fr Simon Cuff as Vicar of St Peter de Beauvoir Town, of Revd James Hill as Vicar of St Jude and St Paul Mildmay, of Revd Caroline Shuttleworth as Interim Associate Minister of St Thomas Finsbury Park and St Johns Brownswood Park, of Revd Calebmark Onyemaobi as Assistant Curate of St Anne’s Hoxton, of Revd Jonathan Livingstone as Chaplain in the Barts NHS Trust; the Advent Procession at St Paul’s Cathedral.
  • Regular meetings together and sometimes individually with colleagues in the College of Bishops, the London Diocese Senior Staff, and the Stepney staff team.
  • Bishop Joanne has chaired her first two meetings of the Joint Operations Team (JOT), the body that includes all the archdeacons and heads of department in the Diocese (the meeting that makes stuff happen!)
  • 1:1s with several people, clergy, lay people, those exploring vocations or new ministry: either a coffee, a Zoom, or a walk around the park.


  • A taster day with Dr Eeva John for the Stepney staff team, to help us to understand the materials available through Living in Love and Faith (LLF)
  • Welcoming Ben Lindsay to our area training event on growing in cultural competency.
  • Attending the launch of Hestia’s Modern Slavery Art exhibition outside St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Being on the appointment panel for a new Bishop of Barking, at the invitation of the Bishop of Chelmsford. Revd Lynne Cullens has been appointed and we look forward to welcoming her as our near neighbour across the River Lea.
  • Meeting with the diocesan Racial Justice Priority Group and appointing a capacity building consultant, Steph Ajayi, who is going to be working with us over the next 12 months on clarifying and beginning our programme of work, across the whole diocese, aimed at being more racially just as a Church.
  • With a DSA colleague, meeting a survivor of sexual abuse within the Church of England, hearing their experience, and reflecting with them what change they want to see.
  • A caravan holiday in the Kent countryside, with walks on the beach at Dungeness and Camber Sands, a visit to All Saints Lydd for Sunday worship, and watching old Harry Potter films.
  • Two days mentoring a group of participants in the Senior Leadership Development Programme, who are trying to write a book/resource called Faithful Change, to help any and every parish think and pray about how to handle change.

October and November

  • Taking part in a Webinar organized by Archdeacon Adam and Sara Black for candidates interested in finding out more about being an Archdeacon. And then being a member of the panel for the appointment of a new Archdeacon of Hackney, alongside several lay and ordained representatives from Stepney Area. (The interviews are on the 17th December, when the candidates will also be able to meet members of the Stepney staff team, and will offer a presentation for comment by y12 students at St Mary Magdalene Academy Islington). We were pleased to have 17 applications for the post.
  • Being part of the steering group working to support the work of the independent reviewer who is looking into the circumstances leading to the death of Fr Alan Griffin.


  • Coffee with the new chief executive, and meeting staff, at Spitalfields Crypt Trust: Bishop Joanne is vice-patron of this very local charity.
  • Being part of the panel for the appointment of a new Third Church Estates Commissioner. This a national role, within the Church Commissioners, with responsibility for pastoral reorganization, and the care of Cathedrals, amongst other things.
  • Hosting a Fair Energy Zoom session, with Citizens UK, looking at how churches can be involved in campaigning for greener, fairer, more affordable energy.
  • Hosting afternoon tea for a group of clergy considering taking part in the Youthscape Launchpad programme:
  • 24 hours with cell group: talking, praying, eating, sleeping.
  • Trust for London governance committee. Trust for London is a charity that tackles poverty and inequality in London: Bishop Joanne is nominated to this role by the Church Commissioners, and is the Trustee for safeguarding and also on the governance, social enterprise, and one of the grants committees.
  • Meeting new part-time members of the Compassionate Communities team, who have responsibility for some of CC’s areas of work: more info here

Once a week clergy are invited to join the Bishop for Morning Prayer at 8am on Wednesdays – please email Ellie Brame for the zoom link.

Bishop Joanne would be really grateful for your prayers for these different aspects of her ministry, which she shares with you and with other colleagues in the Diocese of London. Sometimes it can be hard to juggle the different responsibilities, and she asks for your patience if she isn’t able to get back to you as quickly as she would want to.

You can follow Bishop Joanne on Twitter as @joannegrenfell where you can see posts about various events and parish visits, and a healthy competition with Bishop Rob to post the most confirmation service selfies! See also our own @StepneyLives feed on Twitter and Instagram.