New Bishop of St Germans, Revd Hugh Nelson, to be consecrated at Lambeth Palace
The new Bishop of St Germans, the Revd Hugh Nelson, will be consecrated at Lambeth Palace in a service at 11.30am on Wednesday, July 15.
The service will be streamed on YouTube, and you can watch live by. clicking this link.
He will be accompanied by members of his family and the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, and consecrated by, among others, the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Dame Sarah Mullally.
Many bishops would normally attend the consecration and lay their hands upon the new member of the College of Bishops, but because of the present restrictions and social distancing measures, the service will be smaller and somewhat shorter. Everybody attending will also be asked to wear masks in the chapel.
Hugh started in his new role on July 1. A planned service of welcome at Truro Cathedral has been postponed for the time being.
‘Great honour and responsibility’
Hugh said: “There has, understandably, been a lot of uncertainty and changes to plans and dates, but it is wonderful to finally have Wednesday in the diary and to mark the formal beginning of my ministry as Bishop of St Germans. It feels like both a great honour and a great responsibility to step into this role.
“I moved to the diocese with my family in June, and since then and because of lockdown I feel that I have been largely seeing Cornwall as an observer. So I am very keen to start meeting people properly – albeit at a social distance for the time being – and begin to learn about Cornwall’s essence and the people who make it what it is.
“I am also looking forward to being part of an ancient church that began with the Cornish Celtic saints, has faithfully ministered through times of change and upheaval and which is now contemplating a future that will involve some kind of online ministry. This is certainly a time of great change for us all.”
‘Blessing to one and all’
Bishop Philip said: ‘I really am delighted to be able to welcome Hugh to the diocese. He brings with him many gifts and a wealth of experience, and I feel confident that he will be a blessing to ‘one and all’.
“Over the coming weeks and months Hugh will be able to get around the parishes, and the county more widely, so everybody will have a chance to meet him. I look forward to serving alongside Hugh, and know that his contribution to the diocese will be both significant and welcome.”
Hugh was previously the Vicar of Goudhurst and Kilndown in the Diocese of Canterbury.
He studied theology at Worcester College, Oxford, and worked during university holidays at Helen House children’s hospice in Oxford. These two experiences, combined with a strong sense of calling to live out his Christian life in community, led him to join L’Arche London for what was meant to be a ‘year out’ in a Christian community as a care assistant living alongside people with learning disabilities.
Thirteen years later, and he had served the organisation in a number of leadership roles, including as director of the L’Arche London community, as chair of the group responsible for L’Arche’s relationships with the UK church denominations, and for L’Arche International on the team responsible for renewing the vision and strategy of the Federation of 80 communities worldwide.
Hugh left L’Arche in 2007 to train for ordination at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and then served his curacy in the Medway area in Canterbury Diocese before his appointment as parish priest of St Mary’s, Goudhurst and Christ Church, Kilndown in 2012.
As well as overseeing significant growth in these churches, Hugh pioneered new initiatives including a school of theology, and an innovative partnership that brings together schools, churches and a Christian charity to provide counselling to children and support to families.
He has also played a role within the Diocese of Canterbury, chairing a team leading diocesan strategy, and in the national church working on Setting God’s People Free and Growing Faith.
Children, young people and families
Hugh brings to the Diocese of Truro and to the College of Bishops a passionate concern 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.
Hugh is married to Lizzie and they have four children.
He succeeds the Rt Revd Dr Chris Goldsmith, who is now the national Director of Ministry for the Church of England.