New Bishop of Ely promises: ‘I shall be a pilgrim in all of our communities’ during installation ceremony today

FIFTEEN white doves have today been released to celebrate the installation of the new Bishop of Ely.

The Right Revd Stephen Conway, 53, was installed in the cathedral with a ceremony this morning and will now take up his official duties in the Diocese.

St Mary’s church hosted an initial service where more than 200 local children helped Bishop Conway into his robes, pectorial cross, crosier and mitre.

The event was filmed live by Diocesan crews and projected onto a big screen in Ely Cathedral where hundreds of parishioners packed the pews. The Lady Chapel was also full to capacity.

The children, local clergy and Bishop Conway’s family, all equipped with instruments and bubbles, then led a procession down to the cathedral green, where the doves were released.

Addressing the congregation, Bishop Conway said: “Since I have arrived in Ely, I have had the opportunity to travel in company with incumbents and other ministers around the Cambridge South and Wisbech and Lynn Marshland deaneries.

“This has encouraged me hugely as I have listened to colleagues describing lives and ministries rooted in god and committed to drawing others with them on that journey of discovery.

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“I look forward joyfully to being at the heart of this pilgrim band with all who want to join in during the years to come. I shall be a pilgrim in all of our communities as this year progresses.

“I have met nothing but love and hospitality so far, both from clergy and other colleagues, from friends in sister churches, and from people in the wider community with whom I look to be partners in serving the common good.

“I have already enjoyed the wonder of big East Anglian skies. I have experienced very long views and a sense of earth and sky merging together in a glorious pattern. I look forward to taking the long view as we pray for a future of growth and renewal in the Diocese of Ely.”

Bishop Conway came to the Diocese of Ely from Salisbury where he had been serving as Bishop of Ramsbury from 2006.

He grew up in South London and attended Oxford University. After graduating in Modern History, he taught at Glenalmond College in Scotland, where he also coached the school basketball team.

He first came to this region to read Theology at Cambridge University and train for the priesthood at Westcott House.

The bishop was ordained priest in 1987 and spent his parochial ministry in the Diocese of Durham, where he became Archdeacon of Durham and Canon Treasurer of the Cathedral. Before this he served as Director of Ordinands and Bishop’s Senior Chaplain.

He helped build the friendship between Durham and the Church of North Elbe in Germany, which is also linked with Ely.

He is not married but relies on his large and loving family, friends and colleagues for support and accountability. A mentor and friend to many, he strongly believes prayer and worship lie at the heart of everything.

He is firmly committed to being a bishop for the whole Church, regardless of tradition and actively supports Fresh Expressions.

Bishop Conway has a passionate interest in mental health. He is a keen walker, likes watching rugby and cricket, and enjoys the cinema. He likes to travel and takes much pleasure in offering hospitality.