The Right Reverend Peter Hancock will be installed as the Bishop of Bath and Wells in a joyful service in Wells Cathedral on Saturday 7th June.
The special service of welcome will establish Bishop Peter as the 79th Bishop of Bath and Wells and will formally mark the beginning of his ministry.
Over one thousand people from across the diocese will take part. Every parish in Bath and Wells will be represented, along with guests from local schools, businesses and civic society.
Bishop Peter Hancock said: “I am both excited and daunted at the prospect of beginning my ministry as Bishop of Bath and Wells. The history of this diocese and the long list of bishops who have gone before me is something I will be reflecting deeply upon as I take up the office.”
The service will include a number of historic and symbolic rituals. Bishop Peter will strike the cathedral’s west door three times with his staff before being granted entry.
He will then be greeted by a child before the Dean of Wells gives the formal welcome and legal declarations are made. Kneeling at the nave sanctuary steps, Bishop Peter will be anointed with consecrated oil by his Archdeacons and will receive the episcopal ring from the Bishop of Taunton.
The ring dates from the 15th century and was first worn by, and buried with, former Bishop of Bath and Wells, Thomas Beckynton. Later in the service Bishop Peter will be cloaked in a cope which has been worn at every coronation since Edward VII. He will then be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the ‘cathedra’, the bishop’s throne, before preaching his first sermon in the diocese.
The service will be led by The Very Reverend John Clarke, Dean of Wells. He said: “We’re delighted to formally welcome Bishop Peter and to celebrate his new ministry. The service combines dignity and formality with simplicity and quiet prayer.
“It is an opportunity for the historic county of Somerset to welcome its new Bishop and local children and young people have been given a very special role.”
Having lived on the Isle of Wight and worked in Portsmouth and across Hampshire, Bishop Peter comes to the Diocese of Bath & Wells with an understanding of life in rural, coastal counties. He has never lived far from the sea and describes the countryside as “a real passion”.
Bishop Peter’s love of the countryside translates into a strong interest in rural and environmental issues. This, alongside encouraging children and young people, and supporting the homeless and most vulnerable in society, forms what Bishop Peter describes as the “three threads” of his ministry.
Bishop Peter and his wife Jane will live, work and pray at the Bishop’s Palace, Wells.
Bishop Peter concluded: “I am committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ right around the diocese and beyond. My role is to share God’s love with others and to foster a growing, flourishing church in every community across the Diocese of Bath and Wells.”