The King has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Deborah Sellin, Suffragan Bishop of Southampton, for election as Bishop of Peterborough, in succession to The Right Reverend Donald Allister, following his retirement. Bishop Debbie will be installed as Bishop of Peterborough at a service at Peterborough Cathedral in early 2024.
Bishop Debbie is spending today in the Peterborough diocese. Her itinerary is:
Bishop Debbie and her husband Paul visit William Law Primary School where Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, will formally welcome her and she will lead a short harvest reflection.
Next Bishop Debbie will visit Grange Park Church in Northampton to see how Christians from different denominations have been working together to impact their communities.
Later, she will visit The Chapel Gym in Corby, to see how the gym changes lives for the better by offering the potential to improve both physical and spiritual health.
The day will conclude with evensong at Peterborough Cathedral. The service is at 5.30pm
Deborah was educated at St Andrew’s University and trained for ministry on the Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme. She served her title at St Saviour’s, Guildford, and was ordained Priest in 2008.
Deborah was appointed Vicar of St John the Baptist Wonersh with Blackheath in the Diocese of Guildford in 2010 and was additionally appointed Area Dean for the Deanery of Cranleigh in 2015. She became an honorary Canon of Guildford Cathedral in 2018.
In 2019 Deborah took up her current role as Suffragan Bishop of Southampton, in the Diocese of Winchester and, since 2021, has additionally served as the Acting Diocesan Bishop of Winchester.
Bishop Debbie joined the Diocese of Winchester in 2019 as Bishop of Southampton and then served as Acting Bishop of Winchester from 2021 following the retirement of Bishop Tim Dakin.
“I am really excited about the new opportunities and new challenges, and getting to know the people of Peterborough diocese,” said Bishop Debbie. “But of course, there is a bittersweetness in leaving. Winchester Diocese is a wonderful place to be where I have encountered beautiful people and beautiful places and it has been a joy and a huge privilege to minister here.”
Addressing the people of Winchester diocese, she added: “I would be so grateful if you would be praying for me – that I am able to discern who God wants me to be in the new role. And of course, I will be praying for you, and you will be dear to my heart always.”
Bishop Debbie, who was born in Dumfries, Scotland, was ordained in Guildford Diocese in 2008, following a first career in NHS Management and then working as the Family and Children’s Worker for her church while she had a young family.
Sensing the call to ordination, she trained through the Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme and served her curacy at St Saviour, Guildford (2007-2010). She was then Vicar of Wonersh (2010-2019) and Area Dean of Cranleigh (2015-2019).
During her time as Bishop of Southampton, Bishop Debbie has been involved in a variety of roles. As non-executive chair of Love Southampton, she has pursued her passion for seeing social transformation through ecumenical outreach and community engagement.
She has also been an Ambassador of the Rose Road Association which provides care for children and young adults with complex physical and learning disabilities.
As Acting Bishop of Winchester, Debbie has led the diocese through an unsettled time following significant leadership challenges, to a place of restored reconciliation and unity.
Speaking of the recent appointment of the next Bishop of Winchester, Philip Mounstephen, who will be installed in January 2024, Bishop Debbie says, “I am only sorry not to be working with Bishop Philip! But I know the diocese is in good hands – this is such an exciting time and there is a really good story ahead.”
Bishop Philip Mounstephen said: ‘I’m just delighted that Bishop Debbie has been called to be the next Bishop of Peterborough, and I know that the prayers and thanks of very many people in the Diocese of Winchester will go with her.
“If I have one regret it is that I won’t get to work with her, but I do know how very significant her ministry and leadership in the Diocese has been over the last two years, bringing a renewed sense of healing and hope. I, along with many others, thank God for her and pray for his rich blessing upon her and Paul for this next stage of life and ministry.’
David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke said: “Bishop Debbie’s courageous leadership has enabled us to grow as a collaborative team and her willingness to both encourage and challenge have been gifts, we have deeply appreciated. Her call to Peterborough will be our loss – but is accompanied by our own prayers and warm commendation.”
Colin Harbidge, Diocesan Secretary, said: “Debbie’s leadership and ministry across our diocese over the last four years has been nothing short of exceptional and I know she will be deeply missed by our colleagues, clergy and parishes.”
Bishop Debbie will be installed as Bishop of Peterborough at a service at Peterborough Cathedral in early 2024.
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