Farewell service held for outgoing Bishop of Kensington, Paul Williams
The Bishop of London has led a service of thanksgiving for the outgoing Bishop of Kensington, Paul Williams, who is leaving the Diocese of London to take up his new appointment as the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham.
The service was held last night at St Mary Abbots on Kensington High Street and was attended by family, friends, members of the clergy and local politicians, including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Kensington.
Bishop Paul, whose appointment to the role was announced by Downing Street in February, will be the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham’s 12th bishop and will bring with him his extensive experience in leadership development, church growth and youth ministry.
During his time in Kensington, Bishop Paul has been particularly involved in planting new churches as well as pioneering new forms of leadership training, including the development of the Riverside Leadership programme for refreshing the in-service training of the clergy.
Paul’s experience of ministry among children and young people also led to establishing an innovative team working in Church of England secondary schools across West London, fostering the faith of young disciples.
Bishop Paul has worked closely with the six London Boroughs in the Kensington Area, especially in Children’s Services, to help identify where the church can be more focussed in its care for the poorest and most disadvantaged families.
Many churches have been at the forefront in providing care through food banks, debt advice, credit unions, as well as an increase in youth and children’s work. He and his wife have been strong advocates for the church’s engagement in supporting ‘looked after children’, having been foster carers in the borough of Richmond for several years.
Commenting on the service, Bishop Paul said:
“I am thrilled to have been a part of the London team at a time of significant growth for the church across the Capital. We have many very gifted clergy and lay leaders making an outstanding contribution in helping to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the people of London. I was particularly delighted that many of our church schools were represented, as they are playing such a strategic role in serving children and families from diverse backgrounds as they invest in future leaders for London and beyond.
“As a family we are sad to be moving on from West London, but we know we leave the Church in good heart and with a bold vision for continuing to shape the soul of our city. We look forward now to sharing in the mission of the Church in the young and dynamic city of Nottingham and across a county with very diverse needs and opportunities.”
Bishop Paul grew up in Somerset, studied at Durham University and Wycliffe Hall, and served his curacy at St James’s, Muswell Hill, north London. He was Associate Vicar at Christ Church, Bristol, and from 1992 to 2009, Rector of St James’s, Gerrards Cross, before being appointed Bishop of Kensington.