Historic first-ever female bishop in Norfolk named
An historic first-ever female bishop in Norfolk has been named today as the Ven Dr Jane Steen, who is to become the next Bishop of Lynn.
No 10 Downing Street today announced that Her Majesty the Queen has approved the nomination of Bishop designate Jane, who is currently the Archdeacon of Southwark.
Dr Steen will also be the first suffragan bishop to be consecrated in Norwich Cathedral in over 100 years, if not ever. This will take place on Wednesday June 23. Suffragan bishops are usually consecrated in London and York, but this has been altered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Steen will become the 24th female bishop currently serving in the Church of England and the third in East Anglia, following Bishop Guli in Chelmsford and Bishop Dagmar in Huntingdon.
Following the 10am announcement, Bishop designate Jane will tour the Lynn Archdeaconry, including visits to a primary school in King’s Lynn, King’s Lynn Minster, a small holding near Dereham and a coastal parish church lunch club on the North Norfolk coast. The visit will end with attendance at evensong at Norwich Cathedral.
The new bishop was born in 1964 and studied at Newnham and Trinity Colleges, Cambridge, and Westcott House theological college. She was a curate in the Diocese of St Albans before moving to the Diocese of Southwark as Chaplain to Bishop Tom Butler.
Jane comes to the Diocese of Norwich after over 20 years ministry in the Diocese of Southwark. Since 2013, she has been the Archdeacon of Southwark, and was previously Canon Chancellor of Southwark Cathedral and Director of Ministerial Education.
She was the Bishop of Southwark’s chaplain for five years having served her title in the Diocese of St Albans. Jane trained for ministry at Westcott House in Cambridge, where she read theology at Trinity College. She read English at Newnham College, Cambridge and her PhD was on Samuel Johnson’s Anglicanism.
Jane has an LLM in Canon Law from the University of Cardiff. She is married to Pip and enjoys walking, reading and gardening on a small scale. Jane and Pip are thrilled to be coming to the Diocese of Norwich and say they are looking forward to ministry there.
Jane said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been called to be the next Bishop of Lynn and I am looking forward to the new ministry to which God and the Church have called me. It will be a privilege to minister with the clergy and laity of the Lynn archdeaconry and to serve the wider life of north and west Norfolk.
“I feel very blessed to be calling this area home after several lovely holidays, and I will enjoy getting to know people and places better. I will carry with me many happy memories of the Diocese of Southwark and especially from eight years of ministering in the Southwark Archdeaconry.”
The Rt Rev Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich, said: “Archdeacon Jane Steen has a deep pastoral care for the people and communities that she serves in Southwark and a rich experience of mission in the Church of England, including supporting church communities to flourish. She will bring these aspects, together with her great sense of joy and fun, to the role of Bishop of Lynn. I am confident that she and Pip will soon come to love this diocese and its people. May we be a blessing to them, as they will be a blessing to us.”
The Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark said: “Jane Steen has been a trusted colleague over many years and has played a major role in deepening discipleship as well as equipping mission and ministry across the Archdeaconry and wider Diocese of Southwark. I commend Jane and Pip to your prayers and have every confidence that Jane’s future episcopal ministry will be a rich source of blessing and encouragement to all in the diocese in which she will soon be serving.”
The appointment has been welcomed by the East Anglia Methodist District, which said on its Facebook Page: "We are delighted to hear of the appointment of the Ven Dr Jane Steen who will become the next Bishop of Lynn. This is an historic appointment as Jane will be the first-ever female bishop in Norfolk. The Methodist community in East Anglia welcomes this appointment and we look forward to working with Dr Steen in the wonderful area of north and west Norfolk. Dr Steen and her husband Pip, remain in our thoughts and prayers at this time of change and new beginnings, both for them and the Diocese of Norwich."
Pictured top is the Ven Dr Jane Steen, the next Bishop of Lynn and, above, with husband Pip. Pictures © Diocese of Norwich.
Click here or see below to see a video of Jane talking about her new role.