DOWNING Street has this morning announced that the next Bishop of Winchester will be the Revd Canon Tim Dakin.

Bishop designate Tim, 53, who is currently head of the Church Mission Society, will be consecrated as the 97th Bishop of Winchester in January and assume the role in Spring 2012.

As well as heading up CMS since 2000, Tim is also a member of the Church of England’s ruling body, the General Synod, an associate priest in the parish of Ruscombe and Twyford in the Diocese of Oxford and an Honorary Canon Theologian of Coventry Cathedral.

Winchester’s previous bishop, the Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, retired in May after 16 years in position leaving the diocese temporarily in the hands of the Bishop of Basingstoke the Rt Revd Peter Hancock.

Bishop Peter said: “I am delighted that the Reverend Canon Tim Dakin is to be appointed as Bishop of Winchester. His contribution as a theologian, especially in the area of mission, has been widely recognised and I am sure he will help us to engage more effectively with the communities, parishes and people that we seek to serve.”

Tim currently lives in Berkshire with his wife Sally – who is a midwife and also an associate priest – and their two children Anna, 20, and Johnny, 16.

He said: “To be asked to be Bishop of Winchester is an amazing privilege and presents me with a wonderful opportunity to serve in a new way. The appointment was a great surprise and I am both humbled and delighted.

“The Church of England is both fragile and robust. It’s fragile because of all the change, yet it’s strangely robust in the way we’re imaginatively tackling new opportunities.

“As Christians, our greatest communication challenge is to show, by what we do and who we are, that our faith is not primarily about what we do in church buildings but about how we live day by day. I shall bring with me a passion for mission, and a longing to see the church grow and have an impact in daily life.”