Bishop Hugh announced as Bishop to the Armed Forces

September 16, 2021

Lambeth Palace has announced that the Bishop of St Germans, the Rt Revd Hugh Nelson will take over the role of Bishop to the Armed Forces in September.

Bishop Hugh will be formally licensed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, during a meeting of the College of Bishops in Oxford on September 20.

Bishop Hugh is taking over from Bishop Tim Thornton, Bishop at Lambeth, who is retiring after four years in the post.

Extra role

This new post will be in addition to Bishop Hugh’s role as Bishop of St Germans in the Diocese of Truro. Bishop Hugh was consecrated as Bishop of St Germans in July 2020.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “I am very pleased indeed that Hugh has agreed to take on this essential ministry. The work of military chaplains is crucial, and is widely recognised as such within the Armed Forces. They need our support and prayers, led by the Bishop to the Forces. Military personnel are confronted daily with deep and vital questions about being human, our relationships, our values and morals. There are no tidy answers to these, but chaplains can offer compassion – being alongside and resolutely with those asking these questions, and those experiencing pain or grief – and they can offer hope. Indeed, chaplains to the Forces embody something of the love of Jesus Christ, offered in every place and to all people. I know that Hugh will ensure he gets to know these chaplains and will work alongside them, as well as being a representative for the church in wider issues relating to the Forces.”

Bishop Hugh said: “It is an honour to take up this role supporting the Chaplains of the three services as they provide pastoral, spiritual and practical care to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Their work, often in difficult and dangerous situations, is a crucial part of the ministry of the Church of England and I very much look forward to being involved as Bishop to the Armed Forces.”

Bishop Tim said: “I have found it a real privilege working with the Chaplains and getting to know something of their ministry and work and that of the wider world of the armed services. I am delighted that Hugh is taking over and pray for him as he gets to know this aspect of church life and know that he will be very well supported by the three Archdeacons in all he does.”

‘Bishop to the Armed Forces plays a key role’

The Venerable (Air Vice-Marshal) John R Ellis QHC, Chaplain-in-Chief and Archdeacon for the Royal Air Force, said: “The Bishop to the Armed Forces plays a key role in connecting the military community, not just to the Church of England, but the diversity of the global Anglican community. The Royal Air Force warmly welcomes Bishop Hugh and looks forward to developing a fruitful partnership in a world where matters of faith and belief are proving ever more significant.”

The Venerable Clinton Langston CB QHC CF, Chaplain General and Archdeacon of the Army, said: “It is great to welcome Bishop Hugh to this vital role that provides an important link between the Armed Forces and the nation. The Bishop to the Armed Forces offers pastoral support, guidance, and encouragement to Anglican chaplains as they fulfil their roles supporting our soldiers and their families. I know he will reinforce and strengthen our connection with our sending church. We look forward to getting to know him better.”

The Venerable Andrew Hillier QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet and Archdeacon for the Royal Navy said: “As Naval Chaplains often deployed around the world, it is important to be grounded in the community of the Church of England. The Bishop to the Forces plays a key role in providing that grounding, and his support is vital for the success of our ministry. The Naval Chaplaincy Service welcomes Bishop Hugh to our seafaring community and looks forward to his leadership, support, and friendship.”

Bishop Hugh will embark on his new position with a number of visits to local bases in the coming months.

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