The Rev. Canon Guli Francis-Dehqani, who lived in Iran until she was 14, has been appointed as the first Bishop of Loughborough. She will focus on supporting black, Asian, and minority ethnic clergy, lay workers, and congregations in the county.
The post of Bishop of Loughborough is new for the Church of England. General Synod passed a motion in February asking the Queen to create the see.
Francis-Dehqani was born in Isfahan, Iran. Her family was forced to leave the country in the wake of the Iranian Revolution in 1980, when she was 14. She attended Nottingham and Bristol Universities and was ordained in 1998, serving in the Diocese of Southwark. Among other positions, she was chaplain to the Royal Academy of Music for two years.
“I’m very excited about the potential for this role, which draws together several important themes in the current life of the church,” she said. “Whilst being a bishop for the whole diocese, it will be a particular joy and a privilege to learn from and draw out the rich resources of Christians from minority ethnic communities.”
“Guli’s rich understanding of the world Church, together with her experience of training and pastoral work in the U.K., will be a huge asset to our diocese,” said the Rt. Rev. Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester. “I am looking forward to working with her as a close colleague, and I know from my own experience that she and her family will receive a very warm welcome from the diverse communities of the city and county.”
A mother of three school-age children, she is married to the Rev. Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, team rector of Oakham in northwest Rutland. Before her ordination, she produced religious programs for the BBC.
Francis-Dehqani will be consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on Nov. 30 at Canterbury Cathedral.
Adapted from the Diocese of Leicester