THE new Bishop of Monmouth is Cherry Vann, the current Archdeacon of Rochdale. 

Ms Vann will be the 11th bishop of Monmouth and the first woman to hold the post.

Her election was confirmed on Thursday afternoon when she secured the necessary two-thirds majority vote from members of the electoral college, on the last day of its meeting at Newport Cathedral.

Ms Vann said the challenges facing churches in south east Wales were the same as those in the north west of England. 

“The towns around Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale and Ashton are significantly challenged, both economically and in terms of church life,” she said. “We’ve done some statistics, and a very, very small percentage of the population are going to our churches. 

“This is something that we have been working hard to address in the Manchester area and I look forward to bringing some of the wisdom and knowledge I’ve gained from there to Newport and the Diocese of Monmouth.

“It struck me when I read the diocesan profile how similar Monmouth Diocese is to Manchester, on a smaller scale, but the challenges are the same, the demographics are the same and it’s really good to be here to lead the people of Newport in the next challenges that lie ahead.”

The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, announced the election result. He said: “I am looking forward enormously to working with Cherry.  

“She has a huge amount that she will be able to contribute to the life, not only to the Diocese of Monmouth, but also to the Church in Wales.

“One area I know is very close to her heart is the church’s ministry in post-industrial areas where community life, and church life in particular perhaps, has suffered enormously. 

“The diocese, a little while ago, appointed a new archdeacon with responsibility for those areas, but having a bishop with great experience of them will be a huge morale boost for them.”

A talented pianist, Ms Vann is both an associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM) and a graduate of the Royal Schools of Music. She conducts the Bolton Chamber Orchestra.

Ms Vann will be the Bishop Elect until the appointment is formally confirmed by the Archbishop at a Sacred Synod service. 

She will be then be consecrated as bishop at Brecon Cathedral – the seat of the current archbishop – and enthroned as the 11th bishop of Monmouth at Newport Cathedral.