New Bishop for Popondota

Jan 17, 2003 12:29 PM EST

Fr Roger Jupp was born in London in 1956 and was brought up in Blackheath. He was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham Boys' Grammar School 1968-1974 and then read Theology at St Edmund Hall, Oxford 1975-1978. The following year he worked as a Nursing Auxiliary at St Christopher's Hospice for the terminally ill in SE London before going to train for the priesthood at Chichester Theological College. It was there that he first became aware of the life of the Anglican Church in Papua New Guinea through the annual commemoration of Father Vivian Redlich, one of the New Guinera Martyrs, who was trained at the seminary in the 1930s.

Ordained deacon in 1980 and priest in 1981, Fr Roger served curacies in Chesterfield in Derbyshire, Oxford and London. His association with the diocese of Chichester began in 1986 when he was appointed Chaplain to the Area Bishop of Horsham, Bishop Colin Docker. He also held a number of parochial appointments in the diocese. It was whilst he was Vicar of St John's, Burgess Hill that he first met Archbishop James Ayong who, as Principal of Newton College, was beginning a year's sabbatical study at Chichester Theological College, and had a taste of English parochial life when he did a three-week locum in the mid-Sussex parish for Fr Roger. The parish had also recently formed a link with the PNG Church Partnership and this was further cemented by Fr James' visit with Mother Gawali and their granddaughter, Clare. It was this first contact with Fr Roger that brought about his appointment some years later as Principal of Newton College in November 2000.

Fr Roger had left parish life and trained to be a teacher at St Mary's, Strawberry Hill 1995-1996. Although he did return to the pastoral ministry as curate of Aldwick, his appointment to Newton College meant that his experience of teacher training had not been wasted. In fact, teaching at a theological college and involvement in priestly formation had always been an aspiration for him, so Archbishop James' offer meant the fulfilment of a vocation as far as he was concerned.

Father Roger has had a continuing interest in ecumenism throughout his ministry and has been a member of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary since the early 1980s. For a number of years he served on its Council. He is a priest of the Society of the Holy Cross (SSC) and a member of the Church Union and of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. Ever since his days at Oxford, he has pursued an interest in 19th century Church History. Unlike most members of his family, he is definitely not a sportsman and prefers to exercise his mind through reading and listening to music. As both his parents are dead, Fr Roger considers himself an orphan and is grateful that a number of loving families in England have adopted him! He has an older sister, Catherine, who is married and lives in Hertfordshire. His surviving grandmother is 98!

His reaction on hearing the news that he had been elected Bishop of Popondota on 31st December? "I wept," he said.

As he prepares to take up his responsibilities, Fr Roger has listed the following as priorities for his ministry: to listen and to learn; the support of the clergy and the renewal of their ministry; the healing of divisions in the diocese so as to build up peoples' confidence in the faith and to make evangelism more effective; and a teaching ministry leading to renewal in the Catholic faith and its full expression within a contemporary and culturally rich liturgy.

As Fr Roger continues his furlough in England, he has asked for prayers both for himself as he prepares for this new and challenging work to which the Lord has called him, and for the people of the diocese of Popondota who look to God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they seek a renewed vision for the future.

By Albert H. Lee
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