Bishop Rob Wickham takes the helm

Written by: Laura Morton on Jul 10, 2023. Category: News

Rt Revd Rob Wickham 700x465
Bishop Rob Geoff Crawford 2

Bishop Rob Wickham has taken up his role as the new CEO of Church Urban Fund, having served as Bishop of Edmonton in the diocese of London.

He comes to the organisation having spent many years working in areas of high deprivation, from Tyneside to various parts of London. While a rector in east London he hosted a food bank, a night shelter, debt advice, a knife bin and a credit union, and during the 2011 London riots he won plaudits for his hands-on community engagement.

Bishop Rob1 Medium

Since being made bishop in 2015 he has supported priests who want to run community initiatives and as inequality has risen he has encouraged links between churches in wealthy areas and those in areas of deprivation.

Bishop Rob said of his new role:

“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 flourish 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.”

To supporters of CUF and people who volunteer for a project set up with support from CUF, he added: “It is wonderful that people are dedicated in wanting to bring about change in their communities.” While he plans to lead collaboratively, he added: “The platforms are being developed for you to get much more on board and join in with the beautiful story of living out God's love for His people.”

Andrew Barnett, chair of trustees of CUF, said: “We are excited to be welcoming Bishop Rob to lead CUF, with his years of experience of bringing positive change to places of deprivation. We are confident he will enable the organisation to expand its reach, bringing in new volunteers and inspiring new audiences with our vision to resource the local church to relieve local poverty and disadvantage.”

Read more about Bishop Rob.