We are delighted to share that the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, Anglican Bishop of Winchester has been appointed as the new Independent Chair of the ChurchWorks Commission, succeeding the Rt Revd Paul Butler, who retires in early 2024. Our heartfelt thanks are due to the Rt Revd Paul Butler as our outgoing Chair for his great leadership over many years.
Bishop Philip, who served as Bishop of Truro between 2018 and 2023, and was previously Chief Executive of the Church Mission Society, has recently taken his seat in the House of Lords as one of the 26 Lords Spiritual.
Commenting on his appointment, Bishop Philip said:
“I am delighted to take on the role of Independent Chair of the ChurchWorks Commission. In a short time, the Commission has had a significant impact on how the church in our country works together, and with the government, to address major social issues such as isolation, vulnerable families and the cost of living. I am looking forward to working with my fellow Commissioners to strengthen the collective impact of the church in the public square.”
Bishop Philip is no stranger to working with the government constructively and convening coalitions to address major policy challenges. In 2019, he chaired an Independent Review into the quality of the UK Government’s response to global Christian persecution. Bishop Philip subsequently set up and chaired the UK Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Forum, which brings together a wide range of civil society actors engaged in this field.
Alongside Bishop Philip’s appointment, ChurchWorks has appointed two Vice-Chairs to strengthen the Commission’s public profile:
- Pastor Agu Irukwu, Senior Pastor of Jesus House For All Nations (part of the Redeemed Christian Church of God)
- Jude Levermore, Head of Mission for the Methodist Church in Britain
Both Commissioners have been significantly involved in the work of the Commission since its earliest days during the pandemic and will work with Bishop Philip to build the impact of the ChurchWorks Commission’s work going forward.
On her appointment, Jude Levermore said
“ChurchWorks is a hugely valuable initiative and there has never been a more critical time to catalyse collaboration between churches and government. I’m honoured to be taking on the role of Vice-Chair and look forward to playing my part in leading the Commission's work into its next phase.”
Pastor Agu Irukwu added
“It is so important for churches to build on the role they played on the frontline of the community response to the Covid pandemic. ChurchWorks plays an important role in telling the story of the Church’s positive impact in our communities, and I’m pleased to be involved as a Vice-Chair.”
The outgoing Chair of the ChurchWorks Commission, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, welcomed the new appointments:
“The ChurchWorks Commission is in excellent hands as I step back from my role as Independent Chair. I am grateful to Philip, Agu and Jude for assuming these leadership roles that will help the Commission thrive both now and in the future. We are already seeing significant progress with our vision, through the Warm Welcome Campaign and our work to connect the church with initiatives such as social prescribing and Family Hubs. The next few years will be a time of great opportunity for the church’s role as a partner for national and local government, the NHS and other public services.”