Bishop Rob Wickham has taken up his role as chief executive of Church Urban Fund, having served as Bishop of Edmonton in the diocese of London since 2015.
He joins the charity - set up to support deprived and marginalised communities across the country – with a background in outreach to the poor and vulnerable. Ever since his ordination in 1998, Wickham has served in the Diocese of London. As Rector of St John’s in Hackney, Wickham hosted a number of different initiatives aimed at deprived communities, including a knife bin and a credit union.
Speaking of his new role, Bishop Rob said: “The Church's ability to tackle poverty and improve social cohesion in the places of greatest need has been on my heart for decades.
“As a vicar I opened community initiatives including a food bank, a night shelter and debt support in our church building.
“As a bishop I’ve tried to create a culture where it is standard that churches do those sorts of activities and where people who are struggling with poverty become the teachers. That has led to Christian-based social action where good discipleship and churches reaching out to the areas of greatest need result in church growth, be that growth in number, growth in depth, and people also becoming integrated and flourishing further as a result. People thrive when they are in relationship with others.”
“Now, as the CEO of Church Urban Fund I want to resource the Church nationally to be the church in areas of greater deprivation.”
Established in 1987, the Church Urban Fund has invested £5.38 million in transforming lives and communities across England to date.
Speaking at the time of Bishop Rob’s appointment, President of the Fund, The Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury commended his “years of deep engagement with hard-pressed communities” and prayed for the continuing flourishing of the organisation under his leadership, keeping the Church “at the forefront of positive change when it comes to poverty and exclusion.”