Biblical scholar and priest the Revd Prebendary Dr Isabelle Hamley will be seconded from her role as Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury to take up a key position advising the Church of England and the House of Bishops.
Dr Hamley will serve as Secretary for Ecumenical Relations and Theology at the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, and Theological Adviser to the House of Bishops, on a three-year secondment from Lambeth Palace.
The Council for Christian Unity staff team that Isabelle will be leading is based in the Central Secretariat of Church House, Westminster. The team support the Council for Christian Unity, which leads the Church of England’s institutional relations with other churches, and the Faith and Order Commission, which provides theological advice to Bishops and other senior leaders in the Church of England.
Dr Hamley will also perform the role of Theological Adviser to the House of Bishops and will provide theological advice and support to other national-level initiatives of the Church of England, including the Emerging Church Groups.
Isabelle takes over from the Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Worthen, who stood down in October 2020 in order to return to parish ministry in Canterbury diocese.
Dr Hamley said: “I am excited (and of course slightly daunted!) to move on to this new post, and have the chance to focus specifically on theology in the life of the Church. Doing theology is a very practical business, because what we believe profoundly affects what we do and how. It is about asking really deep questions about God and about ourselves, about ethics, about justice, about the kind of life we want to have together as a Church. And it is something that we do together, as the people of Christ, and that is really exciting!
“I will be sad to leave Lambeth Palace; it has been my home over the last few years. Working with Archbishop Justin and his team has been inspiring, challenging, and life-giving in so many ways. And more than anything, I will miss the fact that I was working with friends on a daily basis.”
Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Whether it’s shaping the life of the Community of St Anselm, deepening the life of prayer and spirituality at Lambeth Palace, or providing theological wisdom and insight into every area of our work here, Isabelle has made a remarkable impact at Lambeth Palace over the last four years.
“It is a testament to her myriad gifts that even as Isabelle has helped shape complex strategy and deliver major portfolios of work, she has also been a beloved friend and chaplain to the staff at Lambeth Palace. This commitment to the welfare of others, even amid the pressures of leadership, has left an indelible mark on the lives of many here. Her wisdom and leadership will be a blessing in this next stage of her ministry, which she embarks on with my prayers and those of the whole community at Lambeth Palace.”
Jacqui Philips, Director of Central Secretariat and Clerk to the Synod, said: “I am delighted to be welcoming Dr Hamley into this key senior role at Church House. Isabelle is joining us at a time of considerable change for the Church of England and its ecumenical work. Her combination of deep theological wisdom and bold leadership will be of immense value to us over the coming three years. I and the team are looking forward to working with Isabelle in this exciting new stage of her ministry.”