The Bishop of Croydon is, for the first time, to be a woman, after it was announced this morning that the Queen has approved the appointment of the Venerable Dr Rosemarie Mallett, who becomes the Church of England’s second black woman bishop.
Dr Mallett has been an Archdeacon in Croydon for the past two years.
She succeeds the Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, who left the Diocese in March.
While she may be the first woman, Dr Mallett is only the second Barbadian to be Bishop of Croydon – the first being the Rt Revd Wilfred Wood who served as Bishop from 1985 to 2003. He was the first black bishop in the Church of England.
Dr Mallett will be consecrated at Southwark Cathedral on Friday June 24.
Dr Mallett grew up in the UK and was educated at Sussex University and Warwick University. Prior to ordination, she was a research sociologist and academic, specialising in international development and ethno-cultural mental health.
She has lived and worked in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Barbados. She trained for ministry at the South East Institute of Theological Education (SEITE) and served her curacy at Christ Church, Brixton Road. She was ordained in 2005.
Dr Mallett served as priest-in-charge at St John the Evangelist, Angell Town in Brixton from 2007 and was appointed vicar in 2013, as well as being made Director of Ordinands for the Kingston Episcopal Area. In 2015, she was additionally appointed Diocesan Director of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.
She served on General Synod from 2011 to 2021.
She is the Diocesan lead on Racial Justice and authored the Diocese of Southwark’s Anti-Racism Charter which was unanimously approved by the Diocesan Synod in March 2021.
Dr Mallett regularly appears on BBC Radio 4’s Prayer for the Day and has led Daily Worshipp on BBC Radio 4.
For more than 20 years, Dr Mallett has served as Trustee and Director of a number of social action charities across London, all focusing on building community cohesion. She served as Equalities Commissioner for five years in Lambeth, and currently acts as adviser to a Croydon community action project which is focused on reducing serious youth violence.
Dr Mallett, 63, has one daughter, Jane, and enjoys baking and walking. She loves jazz music and going to the theatre.
“I am thankful to god for the honour and privilege of serving as the next Bishop of Croydon,” Dr Mallett said.
“I love the diversity of this area geographically, ethnically and culturally. I will serve the Episcopal Area of Croydon and East Surrey and the people with great pride and do my very best to make God’s word and his love be known, while championing social justice causes across the area for people of all ages.”
The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, said: “I am very grateful to all those who have worked with me to ensure that the appointment of the next Bishop of Croydon has gone forward swiftly.
“It has been a joy to see Rosemarie flourish as Archdeacon of Croydon with her passion for building community cohesion as well as championing racial and social justice. I have asked her to continue to focus on these as a bishop, confident that Rosemarie will be a great blessing to the parishes and people of the Croydon Episcopal Area and wider Diocese.”
The Croydon Episcopal Area in its current form came into being in 1985 after central Croydon was transferred from Canterbury Diocese to Southwark. It is comprised of the Archdeaconries of Croydon and Reigate, covering the boroughs of Croydon, Sutton and the district of Tandridge, the vast majority of Reigate and Banstead district, and parts of the borough of Bromley and Mole Valley district. It stretches from Upper Norwood in the north to Gatwick in the south, and from West Wickham in the east to Worcester Park in the west.
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This is indeed a signal development & achievement for Dr Mallett. The first black woman bishop in the Church of England was the Rt. Rev. Rose Hudson Wilkin who was consecrated Bishop of Dover and the Bishop in Canterbury in November 2019.
A great appointment and a person with experiences and experience that could support and improve the outlook of people in the borough and give them a sense of purpose, hope, community spirit and real ”Respect” something lacking of late from Croydon Council. Perhaps Bishop Mallet may like to visit a certain Premises on Oval Road on a Sunday after church I hear it has some good jazz on occasion.