Buckinghamshire’s clay pigeon-shooting archdeacon has got a promotion – becoming one of the UK’s first-ever female bishops.
The Venerable Karen Gorham, who lives in Stone, has been the Archdeacon of Buckingham for the past eight years.
But now she will move to Dorest to become the 38th Bishop of Sherborne.
Archdeacon Karen is the eighth woman in the UK to be appointed bishop, after the rules were changed last year.
She said: “I am both excited and daunted by the prospect.
“I look forward to the day when bishops are not referred to by their gender, however being one of the first eight does mean that we are still rare.
“It is only a year since the Church of England agreed to having woman bishops.
“I hope that by seeing men and women thrive at all levels of church life, as bishops, proests and deacons, it will make the church more reflective of the world in which we live.
“Christians believe that Christ welcomes all, and that God gives us all gifts and talents to use. I hope that more young people discover that there is a place in the church for them.”
And speaking about her approach to the role Archdeacon Karen said: “As an archdeacon I have tried to make myself accesible to the clergy serving our churches and to congregations up and down the country.
“I hope to do that as bishop, to walk alongside, sharing the Christian story and helping churches and Christian communities make a real difference in the world today.”
As well as her church duties, she loves walking and travel and during her time in Buckinghamshire took up the ‘expensive but fun’ hobby of clay pigeon-shooting.
Archdeacon Karen will be consecrated as a bishop on February 24 in a service at Westminster Abbey in London.
Her appointment was announced by Number 10 Downing Street.
A farewell service will be held for her on January 17 at All Sainst Church in High Wycombe at 3pm.
Archdeacon Karen added: “I have had a love of Dorest since childhood holidays and so it is with much joy that I respond to a call there to be part of God’s mission as part of the Salisbury team.
“There is much to do in the weeks ahead, please pray for me in this transition as I pray.”
The Acting Bishop of Oxford Colin Fletcher, said: “As a bishops’ staff we will miss Karen’s presence very badly.
“Her passion for mission and her acute analytical ability, coupled with her concern for clergy well-being and her creativity have contributed a great deal to our life together.
“We and the diocese as a whole, owe her a tremendous amount.
“Our loss is Salisbury’s gain and we wish her well in her new role.”
You can find out more about Archdeacon’s Karen’s new role by visiting www.gov.uk/government/announcements