THE next Bishop of Crediton will be the Venerable Jackie Searle, currently Archdeacon of Gloucester, 10 Downing Street has announced.
Archdeacon Jackie said: “I am delighted to have been appointed Bishop of Crediton and am excited to be joining the Church of England in Devon. I am very drawn to the Diocesan vision to deepen our prayer, make disciples and serve the people of Devon with joy.
"I look forward hugely to joining in, getting to know the churches, schools, chaplaincies and fresh expressions of the Diocese and all the communities they serve, and working collaboratively to share the love and grace of God.”
Jackie was among the first women to be ordained as priests when she was a curate in London. She served curacies in Harrow and Ealing, before joining the staff of Trinity College, Bristol where she was Lecturer in Applied Theology.
She moved to be Vicar of Littleover in the Diocese of Derby, serving also as Dean of Women’s Ministry and as Rural Dean. In 2012 she took up her current appointment as Archdeacon of Gloucester and Canon Residentiary of Gloucester Cathedral.
Her breadth of experience and different ministries will stand her in good stead for this wide ranging role, which covers north and east Devon.
The Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell, said: “Jackie is a person of wide sympathies with a deep love of Christ. Through her work with Bridge Builders, she has specialised in conflict transformation, and will bring to her new role the same mixture of compassion, integrity and professionalism that has characterised all her work. She understands the challenges and opportunities of rural ministry well and will enrich the life of the church in Devon in many ways.”
Jackie added: “Wonderfully, in the Church of England in Devon, the church is gently growing. My heart’s desire is to share the difference that Jesus makes in our lives and to encourage everyone to find their vocation and purpose. This is what church is all about - a place where all are welcome and a community who live out their faith day by day wherever they may be.”
Prior to her ordination, Jackie trained as a primary school teacher. She is married to the Revd David Runcorn and they have two grown up children, Josh and Sim.
Jackie replaces Bishop Sarah Mullally, who served as Bishop of Crediton for two and a half years before being appointed as Bishop of London in May.
Jackie will be welcomed to Devon at St Andrew’s Church Cullompton at 10am this morning, a church where she attended as a leader of a children’s mission week three decades ago.
Children from St Andrew’s will sing a song of welcome for the new bishop, who will then meet some of the many community groups who use St Andrew’s Church.
She will then visit Bampton CofE Primary School to lead a short assembly for children and meet staff. Bampton primary is a thriving school with 131 children aged from two to 11.
Jackie will then visit Gays Farm in Coplestone, a 280 acre dairy farm which has lost 20 cattle in a recent TB outbreak. She will meet farmer Brian Warren and his son Paul, and Colin Smallacombe and Briain Warren from Farm Community Network, the charity that supports farmers facing difficulties.
Her day visiting her new area will end with Evensong at Exeter Cathedral, where she will meet choristers who are singing their final service of the term.
She will be consecrated on 27 September at Southwark Cathedral, and her welcome service will be in Exeter Cathedral at 4pm on Sunday 14th October.