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/ 21 February 2023

Bishop Rob appointed next CEO of Church Urban Fund

The Rt Rev Rob Wickham, the Bishop of Edmonton, has today been appointed the new Group Chief Executive of Church Urban Fund (CUF), as the Christian charity strives to expand upon its work tackling poverty and exclusion across England. Bishop Rob has served as the Bishop of Edmonton since September 2015, with a total of 25 years of service in the Diocese of London.

Bishop Rob has been a Curate in the Parish Church of Willesden, a Team Vicar in the Parish of Old St Pancras, with a particular responsibility for St Mary’s Somers Town, and then for nine years was Rector of St John at Hackney, latterly becoming Area Dean of Hackney. His final act as Bishop of Edmonton will be 24th June’s Edmonton Ordinations to the priesthood. The consultation process for choosing his successor will be announced later this year.

The announcement was made at a Places of Welcome project in Walsall, which is part of a network of 600 Places of Welcome that are supported by CUF and Together Network partners. Established in St Gabriel’s Church last year, the project offers a warm welcome to members of local communities, creating a place where all people feel safe to connect, belong and contribute.

Speaking about his appointment, the Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, said:

“Rob has simply been an inspiration for so many years, whether as Bishop, Area Dean or Vicar, across the West, East and North of the Diocese of London. His enthusiasm, his warmth, his commitment to our parishes, our clergy and the people they serve, have all made him a much-loved figure here. Equally, his energetic presence has been channelled into our partner work with the Anglican Church in Angola and Mozambique and his work with the London Diocesan Board for Schools, and the 55,000 pupils across the capital it supports every day. I know that he will continue to inspire at CUF, and am sure that CUF will thrive under his leadership. While I will greatly miss our work together, he leaves with my prayers, gratitude and best wishes.”

Bishop Rob said:

“For twenty-five years I have found a home in the Diocese of London, and I have worked with some extraordinary and visionary people. God never fails to surprise, and I am now responding to a new calling. The command of Jesus to ‘feed my lambs’ has been instrumental in my ministry as a parish priest and as a Bishop and I am delighted to be appointed as the Group CEO of CUF. I look forward to working with Dioceses, churches, different Christian denominations and networks, alongside other faith communities, praying that, together, this command will be fulfilled.

“The pandemic and so much more has revealed excessive inequality in England on many different scales, yet the hope-filled call of Jesus remains the same.  I look forward to working with the CUF family in helping to shape a collective response to these challenges and opportunities. I thank too the everyday pioneers and heroes across the Edmonton Area, in Hackney and in King’s Cross who have prepared me for this new role.”

Church Urban Fund is a national Christian charity founded to create a future where every person in need has access to a community of support. The charity works with and invests in people, churches and community groups to tackle urgent issues, provide life-changing support and raise money. The charity aims to confront complex challenges like poverty and exclusion across England by mobilising people, churches, and whole communities to make a positive difference.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is President of Church Urban Fund.

The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury said:

“I warmly welcome the appointment of Bishop Rob Wickham as the new CEO of the Church Urban Fund. Church Urban Fund plays a crucial role in working with some of the most marginalised communities in our society. As the country copes with food and energy inflation and tens of thousands of people struggle financially, CUF’s involvement is needed now more than ever. Likewise, their work in bringing together different faiths in their Near Neighbours programme is invaluable.

“Bishop Rob brings to CUF many years of deep engagement with hard-pressed communities and a profound theological understanding of Christian social action. I pray that he, and CUF, will continue to flourish and will keep the Church at the forefront of positive change when it comes to poverty and exclusion.”

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