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, supports the work of the Compassionate Communities team, and, with Monica Bolley, chairs the Racial Justice Priority Group. For the last year, she has chaired the Diocese’s Joint Operations Team, where archdeacons and diocesan team leaders meet together monthly to help operational matters run more smoothly across the Diocese.
Here are some of the key events and commitments in Bishop Joanne’s diary over the last couple of months:
Bishop Joanne confirmed candidates at: St Peter de Beauvoir, St Michael and All Angels, and Christ Church Isle of Dogs. She ordained Revd Vera Preedy deacon at SAINT St Luke’s Homerton and Revd Rebecca Hamilton and Revd Colin Hamilton from KXC as priest at St Andrew’s Barnsbury, before they moved to take up church planting roles in Dublin.
She led worship/preached at All Saints Poplar and Pentonville Prison at Christmas, and at SAINT St John at Hackney and St Leonard Shoreditch for Epiphany.
She licensed Revd Phil Williams as priest-in-charge of Poplar and Revd Mark Jackson as vicar of Inspire St James. She took part in the funeral for Revd Tania Witter.
Bishop Joanne completed a piece of work for the Bishop of Truro, leading a Visitation of his cathedral. The report that the team wrote enabled the Bishop of Truro to write some Determinations to set a new direction for the Cathedral.
She continued as a member of the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs committee and the National Safeguarding Steering Group. She began a piece of work as chair of a working party looking at the Seal of the Confessional, following on from IICSA’s recommendations about churches and mandatory reporting. She attended residential meetings for the national College of Bishops to discuss Living in Love and Faith. As part of that work, she has also been involved in listening sessions across the Diocese, with Bishop Sarah, for clergy and churches who want to share their views on how the church should proceed on these important matters.
Bishop Joanne is beginning to see Stepney clergy for a conversation when they have completed their MDRs and has plenty of diary spaces saved for those who will be looking for a time to see her (or Archdeacon Peter) after they’ve completed theirs.
With Archdeacon Peter, Revd Andy Rider, and the area deans, Bishop Joanne has met with every deanery chapter to talk through vision, strategy, and resources for growth. There has been a particular emphasis on partnership working.
In relation to the diocesan Racial Justice Priority Group, Bishop Joanne and the group have been working on an anti-racism statement for the diocese, on a ten-point plan that all parishes can engage with, and on the commissioning of a programme of anti-racism training to be used across diocesan life. They are also working with the HR team on an appointments pack for clergy appointments and working within the LDF to look at recruitment patterns for lay posts. Members of the RJPG attended a Parliamentary book launch with author Alton Bell, for his book Shades of Black. More information on the group’s work can be found here: https://www.london.anglican.org/our-2030-vision/racial-justice/
In relation to the Joint Operations Team, a twice-yearly focus on property matters (parish property and housing/investment property) has recently been introduced, to bring greater focus, along with greater resource, to this area of work.
Bishop Joanne has undertaken teaching sessions for the national deaneries network on safeguarding, and for St Augustine’s theological training course on ministry.