Downing Street has this morning announced that the next Bishop of St Germans is to be the Revd Hugh Nelson.

Hugh is currently the parish priest of St Mary’s, Goudhurst and Christ Church, Kilndown (known as GK Church), in Canterbury Diocese.

Prior to his ordination in 2009, Hugh was Director of L’Arche London, a Christian community in which people with and without learning disabilities live together and support one another.

Overseeing growth; pioneering initiatives

As well as overseeing significant growth in his parish churches, Hugh has pioneered new initiatives in Kent, including a school of theology and a ground-breaking partnership between schools, local churches and a Christian charity to provide counselling to children and support to families.

Hugh chaired the team that developed Canterbury Diocese’s strategy, and works on the national Church of England initiatives, Setting God’s People Free and Growing Faith.

Passionate concern

Hugh brings to the Diocese of Truro and the College of Bishops a passionate concern for people with learning disabilities; for children, young people and families, particularly those struggling with mental health issues; a deep commitment to ecumenism; first-hand knowledge of the joys and challenges of growing the rural church; and a deep passion to see all people, young and old, in every community, know the life-changing impact of knowing the love of God in Jesus.

He is married to Lizzie, UK director of international peace-building NGO Search for Common Ground, and they have four children.

Hugh said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been appointed as the new Bishop of St Germans.

‘My joy and privilege’

“The Christian faith has deep roots in Cornwall, and it will be my joy and privilege as bishop to enable those strong roots to continue to bear fruit today and in the future.

“I look forward to working with all my brothers and sisters in Christ, lay and ordained, in church communities across the diocese, as we live out the hope and love that Jesus has for Cornwall and all its people.”

Welcoming his appointment, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen said: “I’m delighted to welcome Hugh here as bishop-designate of St Germans and we greatly look forward to Hugh, Lizzie and their family joining us later this year.

“Hugh has a significant track record of church growth in a rural context; of launching fresh initiatives in mission and ministry, as well as experience of developing strategy at a diocesan level.

“Additionally, he has been deeply shaped by several years working at L’Arche, an intentional Christian community centred around people with profound learning disabilities.

‘Deep and joyful call to Cornwall’

“He speaks of a deep and joyful sense of call to join us in Cornwall. I’m just delighted by his appointment and look forward so much to him joining us here in our adventure of Discovering God’s Kingdom; Growing the Church.”

Hugh and his family will move to live in the Diocese of Truro in April. He will be consecrated as a bishop in June, after which he will be formally welcomed to the diocese and will take up his seat in Truro Cathedral.