Berkshire

New Bishop of Reading announced by Downing Street

The new Bishop of Reading has been announced by Downing Street as the Right Reverend Andrew Proud.

The new bishop replaces the Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell who became Bishop of Chelmsford in November.

Mr Proud, 56, is currently the area bishop of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

His new role is one of three area bishops in the Diocese of Oxford, who serve under the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Reverend John Pritchard.

The Reading episcopal area covers "old Berkshire", taking in the local authority areas of the Vale of White Horse in Oxfordshire, West Berkshire, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell Forest and Windsor and Maidenhead, as well as parts of the South Oxfordshire District Council area.

On Monday, the new bishop will take part in a tour of his new area, starting at John Lewis in Reading, where the diocese said he would meet partners and contractors, and hear about the challenges facing the retail sector.

He will then travel on to Wokingham, Marcham and the UK headquarters of mobile phone giant Vodafone in Newbury.

Health checks

"Having spent nine absorbing, fruitful years in Ethiopia, I am delighted to be coming to the Diocese of Oxford - a diocese clearly committed to transforming lives and serving communities," he said.

Image caption The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell became the Bishop of Chelmsford in November

"We look forward to making our home in Berkshire and to engaging with many of you in the church and the community."

Mr Pritchard said Mr Proud would bring "deep and fascinating experience and knowledge of the wider Anglican world which will be very enriching to the people of Berkshire and the diocese as a whole".

Mr Proud was appointed in September but several procedures including health and criminal record checks had to be undertaken before the announcement could be made public.

A ceremony will take place at Reading Minster on 16 April to formally "install" Mr Proud as the bishop.

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