THE new Bishop of Bath and Wells outlined his first challenge of fostering “spiritual and numerical growth in all parishes” during his installation service.

The Rt Rev Peter Hancock told Saturday’s congregation of over 1,000 at Wells Cathedral his mission will need “much listening, much thought and much prayer”.

Two days after moving into the Bishop’s Palace with his wife, Jane, he said: “Preaching the gospel, sharing the love of Jesus, and helping communities to flourish and grow are at the heart of what we are called to do.”

Bishop Peter said he faces an “exciting” and “urgent” task which requires an “imaginative and bold” approach, adding: “The size and age profile of many of our congregations calls for fresh imagination and creativity in the way that we resource and grow the Church.”

He said: “We will need to be faithful, joyful and hopeful.”

Bishop Peter also praised the work of the Bishop of Taunton, the Rt Rev Peter Maurice, who led the diocese following the resignation of the previous Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Rev Peter Price a year ago.