New Bishop of Reading Andrew Proud reveals beliefs

Bishop Andrew Proud
Image caption Reading's new bishop is looking forward to the challenge of a new diocese

Reading's new Bishop, the Right Reverend Andrew Proud, describes himself as a "conservative" and "fairly traditional".

He believes the institution of marriage should be reserved for man and wife, and be for the purpose of procreation.

However, he is also a long time supporter of the ordination of women bishops.

Bishop Proud returned to Britain this year, having served in the Anglican Church of Ethiopia for nine years.

Very different

He is daunted and excited about becoming Bishop of Reading.

"I will approach it on my knees," he told BBC Radio Berkshire's Mary Green.

The former Bishop of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa has already expressed his intention to go to a Reading FC game.

His new Berkshire home is very different to his previous diocese where he carried out baptisms in crocodile infested rivers and met underground Christians in Somaliland.

Bishop Proud said he had come into contact with famine, hunger and disease during his time in Ethiopia.

Image caption The bishop says his experiences in Africa will inform his plans for Reading

However, Bishop Proud said faith in God had given his parishioners strength.

He believes his experience in Africa will "shape" the way he approaches ministry in Reading.

"Human nature is the same everywhere, I really do believe that," he said.

Despite the recent departure of a Reading vicar to the Catholic Ordinariate, Bishop Proud said the Anglican Church was not at risk of collapse.

"I know people who've been going to the ordinariate. I wish them well," he said.

"I don't think people are leaving in that large a number.

"We have a parish church in every village. We're very much there in the community serving people."

Bishop Proud said his spirituality was influenced by simplicity.

He said he admired the simple life of work, love, prayer and self-denial which the 13th Century Cistercian monasteries adopted.

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