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Church News

Bishop of Willesden Pete Broadbent to retire, Bishop Sarah says opportunity for 'more diverse' hire

by Cara Bentley

Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, the Bishop of Willesden in north west London, has announced he is going to retire in September. 

Bishop Pete, who took on the role in 2001, has volunteered to stand down a year before the normal retirement age of 70. 

The evangelical suffragan bishop has been involved with the Christian festival Spring Harvest and was the acting diocesan bishop of London between Richard Chartres and Sarah Mullally, whom he plans to work with more on city-wide plans to spread the gospel. 

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, has said she would like to see the role filled as soon as possible and sees it as an opportunity to make the London team "more diverse", but also wants to listen to the views of the local community and the Diocese of London. 

Bishop Pete said of his time in the diocese: "It’s been a joy and a privilege to serve the churches and people of North West London this past twenty years. I look forward to the next stage, helping the Diocese of London with our 2030 Vision - making it possible for every Londoner to encounter the love of God in Christ."

Rt Rev Sarah Mullally said Bishop Pete "has shown extraordinary, untiring commitment to the Church in London for over 40 years. Half of those have been as Bishop, where he returned to serve the part of the capital he grew up in. Pete will leave the see of Willesden with a legacy that will live on. I’ve been particularly grateful personally for his support since I came to London, and I look forward to continuing our work together as we deliver our Diocesan 2030 Vision."

Although a suffragan post, Willesden is larger than 23 Church of England dioceses and the majority of the population of each of the four boroughs it includes - Brent, Ealing, Harrow, and Hillingdon - are non-white. 

In a consultation paper about the future of the role, Bishop Sarah writes: "The current senior leadership of the Diocese does not reflect the culturally diverse population of London, and this would enable us to look again at the episcopal team here in London and might well provide a potential opportunity to increase the diversity of the episcopate in the diocese - and to do so more expeditiously than would be the case if Bishop Pete were to carry on until his normal retirement date.

"The proposal...is that we begin the recruitment process in September, with Bishop Pete moving to his new role at the end of that month. This would enable us to work towards a consecration date for a new bishop in January 2022."

Before being Bishop of Willesden, Rt Rev Pete Broadbent served as Archdeacon of Northolt, a vicar in Harrow and as a polytechnic chaplain in Islington.

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