Diocese of Lichfield

Persian woman becomes first Bishop of Loughborough

Tue 11 Jul 2017
By Eno Adeogun

A woman, whose family was forced to flee Iran in the wake of the 1980 revolution, has been appointed as the first Bishop of Loughborough.

The appointment of Rev Canon Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani - who is the first female bishop from a minority ethnic community in the Church of England - was welcomed by the Bishop of Lichfield.

Rt Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave said: "I am thrilled to offer Guli my warm congratulations on her appointment. I have worked closely with her over the years, and I know that she will enrich the episcopate of the Church of England through her distinctive gifts of spirituality, pastoral care and theological insight.

"It is wonderful to see her following as a bishop in the footsteps of her father Bishop Hassan. In his costly witness to the gospel of forgiveness and reconciliation, and in his commitment to Christian-Muslim dialogue he was one of the great saints of the 20th century, and his ministry has been a tremendous inspiration to me."

Canon Guli's father Bishop Hassan Dehqani-Tafti was the first Iranian to serve as Bishop of Iran from 1961 until 1990 before his death in 2008.

As the first Bishop of Loughborough, Canon Guli will take a full role in the work of the Church across Leicester and Leicestershire. She will focus on supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) clergy, lay workers and congregations in the county.

The mother-of-three - who prior to becoming a priest worked as a religious programmes producer for the BBC - is married to Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, team rector of Oakham in Rutland.

She will be consecrated as Bishop of Loughborough by Archbishop Justin Welby in Canterbury Cathedral on November 30th and welcomed to Leicester Diocese at a service in Leicester Cathedral at a later date.

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