Iranian-born woman becomes first Bishop of Loughborough

An woman whose family fled the Iranian Revolution has been appointed as the first Bishop of Loughborough.

The Revd Canon Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani was announced as the chosen candidate by 10 Downing Street.

She currently leads Curate Training in the Diocese of Peterborough. She is also adviser for Women’s Ministry for the diocese, a canon at Peterborough Cathedral, and sits on the Church of England’s governing body, the General Synod.

In her new role, Dr Francis-Dehqani will be responsible for the Church of England across Leicester and Leicestershire.

She will also have a focus on supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic clergy, lay workers and congregations in the county.

She will be officially consecrated as by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at a ceremony on 30 November.

I’m very excited about the potential for this role which draws together several important themes in the current life of the Church. 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.

Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani

Dr Francis-Dehwani was born in Isfahan, Iran, but her family was forced to leave the country following the Iranian Revolution in 1980. She was 14 at the time.

She was ordained as a priest in 1998. Prior to that, she worked as a religious programmes producer for the BBC.

She is married to Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, Team Rector of Oakham in Rutland, and the couple have three young children.

Guli's rich understanding of the world Church, together with her experience of training and pastoral work in the UK, will be a huge asset to our diocese.

Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester