A chaplain currently working at an Anglican church in Denmark is to become the next Bishop of Huddersfield.
Downing Street announced the appointment of Rev Canon Smitha Prasadam this morning. She has been Chaplain of St Albans, Copenhagen since 2018 and serves as Bishop's Racial Justice Adviser, Vocations Adviser and Chair of the House of Clergy in the Diocese in Europe.
Her appointment as an Area Bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds marks a return to Yorkshire for Smitha, who once studied English Literature and Linguistics at the College of Ripon and York St John, (University of Leeds). She said :
"I can’t wait to start meeting people in God’s own country again. This is where I came as a student and began my journey so it holds a special place in my heart. I'm looking forward to working together with parishes, clergy and community throughout Kirklees and Calderdale to encourage people in confident discipleship and relish the thought of embracing cultural, educational, commercial and inter-faith partners so we can support this wonderful place and its people in common cause."
Born into the Church of South India, Rev Smitha’s family then moved to the Anglican Church in Wales. Both her parents were pioneer mission partners with the Church Missionary Society, and her mother was the first Indian woman ordained in the UK.
Smitha and her family have lived in different places across the UK: “Home is anywhere and everywhere and hospitality both at the Lord’s table and the kitchen table makes me happy!
“My ministry in parish, advocacy and advisory roles over 20 years is joy, justice and dreaming God's dream anew. I hope to be instrumental in connecting people to God, so they can discover a sense of something wondrous, joyous and beautiful, to develop and deepen a relationship with God that is life-giving and meaningful in today's challenging world."
Welcoming Smitha to her new role, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds said:
“This is an excellent appointment for the Huddersfield Episcopal Area in the Diocese of Leeds.
“Smitha has travelled a long way since she was a University of Leeds student and her wealth of experience in ministry at home and abroad will bring great benefits.
“We look forward to working with her and know she will be welcomed by all.”
The Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York said, "It is really good to welcome the announcement of Smitha as the next Bishop of Huddersfield who will be part of a new and exciting leadership team in the Diocese of Leeds.
“She will bring to the role a passion for justice, a desire to see people come to faith in Christ, and for the whole church to reach out in loving service to the communities it serves.”
The new Bishop succeeds Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Gibbs following his appointment as Bishop of Rochester.