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First woman bishop chosen for city

Debbie Sellin is set to become the first woman to be the Bishop of Southampton, and first woman to be a Bishop in the Diocese of Winchester.


Downing Street has announced that Her Majesty the Queen has accepted the nomination of the Reverend Canon Deborah Sellin.


Debbie is currently the Vicar of St John the Baptist, Wonersh with Blackheath in the Diocese of Guildford and is also the Area Dean for the Deanery of Cranleigh. She was ordained 12 years ago after spending time working as a Family and Children’s Worker in a Church of England parish in Guildford, and as a Manager in the NHS. She succeeds the Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Frost who moved on to become the Dean of York in January after over eight years of service as the Bishop of Southampton.


The Bishop of Southampton is a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Winchester and works alongside the Bishop of Basingstoke to support the Bishop of Winchester in the Diocese, with a particular focus on serving the areas of Southampton and South Hampshire, and Bournemouth and East Dorset.

Bishop-elect Debbie said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be nominated as the first woman to be the Bishop of Southampton. It is a real joy to have the opportunity to support the many churches, parish communities and schools in their work to spread the Christian message. I am looking forward to moving to Southampton and getting to know the people of this wonderful city, as well as those across Hampshire and East Dorset.”


The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester (pictured with Debbie), welcomed the announcement, saying: “I am delighted that Debbie is to become the next Bishop of Southampton. Over the past few years our Diocese has begun to refocus our attention on our Christian mission, and most recently, through Winchester Mission Action, our plan is to engage with the ‘missing generations’ of young people across Hampshire and East Dorset. Debbie has particular experience both of working with young people and of outreach to groups which may not have previously engaged with the Christian Church. I am sure she will provide inspirational Christian leadership within our Diocese.”


Debbie will formally take up her post in July, after she is consecrated as a Bishop.


The Right Rev Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, pictured with Debbie © Harvey Mills

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