Mark Tanner named as the 41st Bishop of Chester

The Rt Revd Mark Tanner has been named by Downing Street as the next Bishop of Chester, succeeding the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster who retired in September 2019.

Bishop Mark is currently the Bishop of Berwick in the Diocese of Newcastle, a post he has occupied since 2016.

“It will be hard to say goodbye to the North East,” he says, “however, Lindsay and I are really excited to return to Chester where I was ordained, and both of our children were born.”

Mark says: “It is an honour and a joy to be appointed to the Diocese of Chester at such a key time in the life of our communities, nation, and Church. In Christ, God offers a gift of hope beyond our imagining; there is no greater joy or privilege than enabling others to step into this freedom and life, whether in deeply practical service or beautiful wonder and worship. God is here for all."

Bishop Mark and his wife, Lindsay, will be introduced to the diocese online via a series of live-streamed events. Members of the public can watch and participate via Facebook and Zoom.

“Although I cannot physically be with you today, I look forward to getting to know the people and communities of the diocese from the coast to the Pennines, as we refresh and renew our service of every member of society within our diocese.”

Bishop Christine, the Bishop of Newcastle says: “It has been a real joy to work with Mark as a key member of the team here. I have appreciated his friendship and counsel, his kindness and great sense of fun, and most particularly, his focus on those whom we are called to serve as Christ’s church today. He has been instrumental in helping us establish our Resource Church and imagine new possibilities in terms of ministry and mission. I know the Diocese of Chester will be blessed through his ministry there.”

The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu says: “I am glad that Her Majesty The Queen has approved Bishop Mark Tanner to be the next Bishop of Chester. His formation, leadership and experience as a theological educator have prepared him well to be the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese of Chester. Bishop Mark and his family will continue to be in my prayers.”

The Bishop of Birkenhead, the Rt Revd Keith Sinclair says: “It is a great joy to be able to welcome Mark and Lindsay back to the Diocese of Chester. To be ordained deacon and priest here and then to be called back as bishop is a special gift of God. Mark brings fresh eyes and energy to a diocese in which he is no stranger. He sees God working in our life here and is ready for the challenges we face in living and speaking the gospel of Jesus for today. I know his deep prayerfulness in the Spirit and thank God for his joyful faith. The whole diocese has been praying, and we thank God for answered prayer!”

Mark was ordained deacon in Chester Cathedral in 1998, having served as the Youth Worker at Holy Trinity in Coventry and then trained for ordained ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham. He served a curacy at St Mary’s Upton on the Wirral before moving to Doncaster as Vicar of St Mary’s. In 2007 he was appointed Vicar of Holy Trinity, Ripon, and there he also served as Area Dean and an Army Chaplain. In 2011 he was appointed as Warden of Cranmer Hall, and later, Vice Principal of St John’s College in Durham and a non-residentiary Canon of Durham Cathedral, a post he occupied until his move to the Diocese of Newcastle.

Mark has been a member of the General Synod since 2015, with a break when he became a bishop. He is a member of the Church of England’s Ministry Council and has led the renewal of the Church’s processes for discerning call to ministry. He is a contributing author to a number of publications, writes occasionally for the Church Times, and is the author of The Introvert Charismatic and A PCC Member’s Essential Guide among other titles.

Mark is married to Lindsay, a Social Work Manager and Reader in the Church of England, and they have two children, both of whom are at university.

Mark is likely to take up his post in the autumn.

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