Downing Street announced today that His Majesty The King has approved the appointment of The Revd Canon Dr Martin Gainsborough as Bishop of Kingston in the Diocese of Southwark. He succeeds The Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham who retired in October.
Dr Gainsborough grew up in Kidbrooke, South-East London and lodged in Richmond while studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
He is currently Chaplain to the Bishop of Bristol, The Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, a role he has held since 2019. He is also a Residentiary Canon of Bristol Cathedral and shares in the governance of the Cathedral with responsibility for social justice and ensuring common mission between the Cathedral and Diocese.
As a member of the Bishop of Bristol’s Senior Team, he has led on estates’ evangelism, the environment and racial justice – all issues at the heart of the Diocese of Southwark’s mission.
Dr Gainsborough was responsible for tabling the General Synod amendment which saw the Church of England adopt a more ambitious ‘net zero’ target. As Diocesan Environment Adviser and now Bishop’s Staff Environment Lead, he has transformed the Diocese of Bristol’s response to the climate and ecological emergency.
Dr Gainsborough has a passion for mission and sees his role as helping the local church flourish. He has led a struggling inner-city parish into growth, establishing pioneering social action projects and reaching out to other faith partners. He has experience of building missional partnerships linking wealthier and lower-income parishes, including overcoming some of the challenges which arise. He has led inspiring children’s work with inner-city young people alongside an academic career.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr Gainsborough says: “I am excited and honoured that the Church has seen fit to appoint me as the next Bishop of Kingston. My roots are in the Diocese – having grown up in South-East London – and it means a great deal to me that I am coming back to a part of London with which I have so many connections. My passion is the local church in all its diverse expressions. I can’t wait to get out and about on the ground in the Kingston Area to connect with the parishes, clergy and with our communities and discern with others where God is leading. I aspire to a Church which is confident in the transformative power of the Gospel, embedded in the communities we serve – vocal and active in the public square. As Bishop of Kingston, I will do all I can to encourage and support this and to make Jesus known in this generation.”
The Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, says: “I am delighted that Martin Gainsborough is to be consecrated as Bishop of Kingston in the New Year and look forward to welcoming him as an episcopal colleague in the Diocese. Martin is passionate about equipping the Church to be confident and bold in its proclamation of the Gospel. With many years experience as a theological
and academic educator, Martin has also ministered in inner-city Bristol as well as at the Cathedral and most recently as Chaplain to the Bishop of Bristol. He is deeply committed to social and environmental justice and is attracted to the diversity of the Kingston Episcopal Area and wider Diocese of Southwark. He will bring his undoubted pastoral gifts, wisdom and intellectual rigour to his episcopal ministry with imagination, and a spirit of encouragement. I commend Martin, Mary and the family to your prayers.”
Short Biography of The Revd Canon Dr Martin Gainsborough
1991-1992 Research Assistant, BBC Monitoring, Caversham
1992-1996 Asia-Pacific Editor, Oxford Analytica
1996-2001 PhD Research
2001-2012 Academic roles in universities of Warwick, London and Bristol
2010-2013 Curate, St Luke’s Barton Hill
2012-2018 Professor of Development Politics, University of Bristol
2013-2016 Priest-in-Charge, St Luke’s Barton Hill, Bristol
2016–2018 Canon Theologian at Bristol Cathedral
2019-Present Chaplain to the Bishop of Bristol and Residentiary Canon
Note to editors:
The role of an Area Bishop in the Diocese of Southwark is to assist the Diocesan Bishop in mission and the oversight of pastoral care of parishes in each of the Episcopal Areas of the Diocese.
Kingston Episcopal Area, the part of South-West London which runs south of the Thames from Waterloo to Kingston, and from Streatham to Kew, is both rich in history and brimming with energy. It includes more than 100 parishes, nearly 50 church schools, four universities, two major prisons and 10 Parliamentary constituencies, as well as a large number of important sites including the Royal Park at Richmond and the site of several Saxon coronations at All Saints, Kingston. It is characterised by contrasts, with places of substantial wealth alongside others of deep hardship, upmarket housing close to night shelters and foodbanks, and people from a wide range of ethnicities, religions and backgrounds living in close proximity while many thousands of others commute in daily.
Lambeth Archdeaconry covers the whole of the London Boroughs of Merton and Lambeth, extending from Morden and Wimbledon in the south to the London Eye and South Bank Centre in the north. Its 62 churches reflect the whole range of Anglican experience in a wide range of contrasting contexts which include the vibrant multi-cultural communities of Lambeth and Brixton and an innovative eco-Church at St Mary, Lambeth. It also includes the major transport hub at Waterloo and the much-loved green common spaces at Wimbledon, Clapham and Mitcham.
Wandsworth Archdeaconry is an area of great contrast in which 69 churches cover the full range of ecclesial traditions, style and theology, within a wide variety of social contexts and alongside many other faiths. It covers the London boroughs of Wandsworth, Kingston and the half of Richmond borough that is south of the Thames. Alongside three universities, two major hospitals and one of the largest prisons in the UK, it includes Nine Elms (one of the largest urban developments in Europe), a pioneering ministry in the arts round Battersea Power Station, the lively markets, stalls and shops of Tooting, the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, and also ancient churches like St Mary’s, Barnes which was dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the way back from signing the Magna Carta.
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About the Diocese of Southwark
The Diocese of Southwark serves 2.8 million people in the 16 Local Authorities of South London and East Surrey through 356 places of worship – a Church of England presence in every community – and 106 church schools educating over 37,000 young people. It embraces many diverse communities and a large number of major institutions, many with global significance.