Plans have been revealed for the service of welcome for the new Bishop of Winchester.

The Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen was announced as the new bishop in July, and will officially start in January.

Bishop Philip will serve as the 98th Bishop of Winchester Diocese, which covers 255 parishes across most of Hampshire, parts of Dorset, the Isle of wight and the Channel Islands.

His service of welcome will be held at Winchester Cathedral on Saturday, January 13.

The service will begin at the ancient church of St Lawrence in the city centre, where he will make the necessary oaths and declarations. 

READ MORE: New Bishop of Winchester named as Philip Mounstephen

He will then be met in The Square by the Mayor of Winchester, the chief executive of Winchester City Council, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, and the headteacher and a pupil representative from The Bishop of Winchester Academy in Bournemouth. Together they will process slowly and prayerfully to Winchester Cathedral. 

According to tradition, Bishop Philip will then knock on the West Doors of the Cathedral and be greeted by a child who asks the question ‘Why have you been sent to us?’, to which he replies, ‘I come as one sent as Bishop to serve you.’

The involvement of children will be central to the proceedings, including performances from school choirs and the presenting of the crozier (hooked staff) by a child.

Other symbolic ceremonial acts during the service include the ‘installing’ of the bishop into his ‘cathedra’ (throne), anointing the new bishop with holy oil, and a final act of blessing which takes place outside the cathedral when the bishop will pray for the city of Winchester and the whole diocese. 

Bishop Philip will also preach the sermon, his first public address and an opportunity to express his hopes and priorities.

Speaking earlier this year, Bishop Philip said: “Being a Bishop is all about serving other people and it’s a great honour to be called to be Bishop of Winchester.

"It’s a very ancient role within the church and the life of this country and I feel hugely privileged to be asked to do it.

“The biggest challenge we face is also our biggest opportunity, and it’s how can we best love and serve the people of Hampshire, Bournemouth and Christchurch and all the places that form the Diocese of Winchester.”

The service is a ticketed event only but all the proceedings, including the procession from St Lawrence Church, can be watched on the cathedral livestream channel, or in person in the Outer Close.