Bishop Mullally

Sarah Mullally is the first female Bishop of London.

The Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, at the opening of the ‘Art is Freedom’ exhibition in 2021. Photo by Alison Tsang/Compassionate Communities.

Brief Biography

The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE was installed as the 133rd Bishop of London at St Paul’s Cathedral on 12th May 2018. Bishop Sarah sits in the House of Lords as one of the Lords Spirituals, just as the Bishops of London before her.  She became Dean of Her Majesty’s Chapels Royal (now His Majesty’s Chapels Royal) on 11 July 2019, again a long tradition for Bishops of London.

Bishop Sarah is a late ordinand who before ordination was Chief Nursing Officer in the Department of Health. She trained for the ministry at the South East Institute for Theologian Education and served her first curacy at Battersea Fields in Southwark Diocese from 2001 to 2006. From 2006 to 2012 she was Team Rector at Sutton in the Southwark Diocese. From 2012 to 2015 she was Canon Residentiary and Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral before taking up her role in 2015 as Suffragan Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter.

Bishop Sarah was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 for her contribution to nursing and midwifery.

Tackling Modern Slavery

Since her installation as Bishop of London, Bishop Mullally has made tackling Modern Slavery one of her priorities.

The 2019 Bishop of London’s Lent Appeal raised money for grassroots Modern Slavery charities across the Diocese working to support those escaping modern slavery in all its forms.

Following this, Bishop Sarah commissioned a Task Group on Modern Slavery to address what more could be done as a Diocese.  This Task Group included the Clewer Initiative, a national Church of England Modern Slavery charity along with representatives of a number of London churches and charities.

One of the outcomes of this Task Group has been a partnership with Hestia, which runs support for women who have been trafficked. A Diocese of London church began hosting Hestia to provide support for survivors of modern slavery, including art therapy.

In Autumn 2021, art created at this church project was included in an outdoor exhibition held next to St Paul’s Cathedral. Hosted by Hestia, the ‘Art is Freedom’ exhibition was opened and supported by Bishop Sarah.

Bishop Sarah continues to support the work of Hestia, of the Clewer Initiative and of work across the Diocese to raise awareness of ‘spotting the signs’ of modern slavery in parishes, particularly those serving the vulnerable through foodbanks, drop-ins and night shelters.

Bishop Sarah has commented in response to the Fulham Palace exhibition on the Bishop of London, colonialism and transatlantic slavery: resistance:

I am profoundly sorry for the harm that was inflicted by my predecessors through their involvement with the transatlantic slave trade. It continues to be a source of great shame to us as a Diocese, and this exhibition at Fulham Palace comes as a painful but vital reminder of the Church’s role in this reprehensible period of our history – one which still adversely impacts descendants of enslaved people, manifesting in a range of issues from systemic inequalities to explicit racism.

Today, we are committed to having racial justice woven into every aspect of what we do, and we are focused on taking practical steps towards building communities and cultures that are inclusive and fair for all. Earlier this year, the Church Commissioners committed to addressing past wrongs for its involvement in the slave trade with a £100m fund delivering a programme of investment, research, and engagement.  Our attempts to right this wrong will never be enough, but understanding and responding to our past can help us create a positive and lasting legacy to serve communities impacted by slavery.

The Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, 20 April 2023
The Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, at the opening of the ‘Art is Freedom’ exhibition in 2021. Photo by Alison Tsang/Compassionate Communities.