14 April 2021 – Gavin Collins consecrated as Bishop of Dorchester

The Rt Revd Gavin Collins was consecrated as the Bishop of Dorchester on Wednesday 14 April at one of three special services held at Lambeth Palace Chapel. Gavin was consecrated on the same day as the Rt Revd Malcolm Macnaughton, Bishop of Repton, and the Rt Revd Matthew Parker, Bishop of Stafford. Despite the limited numbers of people present, it was a prayerful and deeply personal service on a beautiful spring day.

“Although COVID restrictions meant this was very different from the large-scale celebration in St Paul’s Cathedral that was originally envisaged, having a much smaller service in the Chapel at Lambeth made it a more intimate and reflective occasion,” says Bishop Gavin. “It was a deeply impactful moment as I prepare to take on my new ministry as a bishop.”

Photo gallery

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As Bishop of Dorchester, Gavin now leads an Episcopal Area larger than many other dioceses. The Dorchester Area has 326 churches across 11 deaneries and a combined electoral roll of nearly 13,000 people.

Speaking on news of his appointment last year, Gavin said; “Throughout lockdown, churches across Oxfordshire have shown us that nothing can separate us from the love of God, and our calling to show and share that love with the communities around us. Jesus’ promise is that he came to give us life in full abundance, and, as Bishop of Dorchester, it will be a joy to play a part in helping the Church to grow into and live out that abundance of life”

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, said; “Gavin is known for his warmth and approachability, and he is passionate about the mission of the church. He’s experienced in bringing churches, local authorities and civil society organisations together for the good of all, and is clear about the issues rural communities and towns face. I am very excited about what Gavin’s appointment means for the Diocese of Oxford.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the sermon at the consecration, speaking of “the need for the church to be flexible as we adjust to the new challenges involved in serving our communities at the present time, particularly as a result of the ongoing pandemic. This would require bold, faithful and visionary leadership from our bishops, and from all local church leaders.”

Notes for editors

  • Brief biographical details below.
  • Photos from the day can be downloaded for press use: Picture 1Picture 2
  • Gavin is the eighth Bishop of Dorchester (since 1939).
  • Gavin will preach and preside at the 11am Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral on 25 April.
  • Scroll down for a film of Gavin talking with Bishop Steven about his faith formation.
  • This light-hearted BBC Radio programme explores ‘how to become a bishop‘.
  • For interview requests, please contact Steven Buckley on 07824 906839 or Sarah Bowie on 07880 716761.

Key information

About the Diocese of Oxford and the Dorchester Episcopal Area
  • The Diocese of Oxford is one of the largest dioceses in the Church of England.
  • The Diocese of Oxford is divided into four ‘Episcopal Areas’, each overseen by their own area bishop.
  • The Dorchester Area consists of the county of Oxfordshire, excluding the two deaneries in the city of Oxford, which are under the direct episcopal oversight of the Bishop of Oxford.
  • The Dorchester Episcopal Area is larger than many dioceses in the Church of England. It extends from the Cotswolds in the west, Bicester in the east and all the way down to Henley-on-Thames.
  • There are 326 churches and 117 church schools in the area, serving a population of over half a million people.
  • 70% of parishes in the Dorchester Area are involved in social action. The Church is also the largest provider of out of school support for children and young people in Oxfordshire.
About Gavin
  • Gavin was educated in Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and worked as a solicitor in the City of London, before training for ministry at Trinity College Bristol.
  • He served his title at St Barnabas, Cambridge, in the diocese of Ely and was ordained Priest in 1998.
  • In 2002, Gavin was appointed vicar at Christ Church, Chorleywood, in the Diocese of St Albans and, from 2006, he additionally served as Rural Dean of Rickmansworth.
  • In 2011, Gavin took up the role as Archdeacon of The Meon in the Diocese of Portsmouth.
  • On 24 November 2019, it was announced that the Queen had approved Gavin’s appointment as Bishop of Dorchester.
  • Gavin is married to Christina, who is a health visitor, and they have three young adult children.

Bishop Steven in conversation with Gavin

In a special edition of the My Extraordinary Family podcast Gavin talks about his Christian formation and his hopes for episcopal ministry.