Bishop of Loughborough appointed

The Prime Minister’s Office has published the following Press Release which states that The Queen has approved the appointment of the Reverend Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani to the Suffragan See of Loughborough. The diocesan web site states “Guli will be consecrated as Bishop of Loughborough by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, in Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday 30 November and welcomed to Leicester Diocese at a service in Leicester Cathedral at a later date”.

Suffragan Bishop of Loughborough: Reverend Gulnar Francis-Dehqani

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

Published: 11 July 2017

The Queen has approved the appointment of the Reverend Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani to the Suffragan See of Loughborough.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani, MA, PhD, Curate Training Officer and Advisor for Women’s Ministry in the Diocese of Peterborough and Canon at Peterborough Cathedral, to the newly created Suffragan See of Loughborough, in the Diocese of Leicester.

Background notes

Reverend Canon Dr Gulnar (Guli) Francis-Dehqani is aged 51. Originally from Iran, she has been in this country since the age of 14. She studied at Nottingham University for her BA in music, and then at Bristol University for her MA and PhD in theology. After working as a Studio Manager and Producer at BBC Radio, she trained for ordination at the South East Institute for Theological Education from 1995 to 1998.

Guli was Curate at Mortlake with East Sheen in Southwark Diocese from 1998 to 2002 before joining the University of London Chaplaincy team as Chaplain to the Royal Academy of Music and St Marylebone C of E Secondary School from 2002 to 2004. She resigned from stipendiary ministry in 2004 to raise her children, and held Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Peterborough whilst also continuing to write, speak and lead retreats. After completing a one year project at the University of Northampton Interfaith Chaplaincy, in 2011 Guli took up her current role as Curate Training Officer for the Diocese of Peterborough and was additionally appointed Adviser for Women’s Ministry in 2012. She has been on General Synod since 2012 and an honorary Canon at Peterborough Cathedral since 2016.

Guli is married to Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, currently Team Rector of Oakham and Rural Dean of Rutland. They have 3 children aged 17 and twins of 12.

Her interests include Persian culture and cooking, all kinds of music, reading, especially contemporary fiction, walking the dog, entertaining and spending time with family and friends.


The process involved in the creation of a new suffragan see for Loughborough was described in an earlier post. More pertinent is the later post in which we reproduced the statement issued by the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester, in order to clarify some of the incorrect assumptions circulating in the media following Harriet Sherwood’s article in The Guardian on 27 March, Church of England to create bishop for minority ethnic community. The salient points are [which we have corrected for gender, now knowing the appointee]:

1. The Bishop of Loughborough will be a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Leicester i.e. she will work with me to serve all people in Leicestershire.

    2. She may, in time, have some sort of national role but this could be related to our church schools, our hospital or prison chaplains, our Credit Unions or our Foodbanks – it will not be exclusively about BAME [Black, Asian, and minority ethnic] communities.
    3. She will carry a particular brief for helping BAME Christians to play a full part in the life of the Diocese of Leicester – whether growing our numbers of priests, leading diocesan outreach projects or training others in sharing their faith.
    4. This proposal does not increase the number of bishops in the Church of England. This is simply a proposal to replace our current Stipendiary Assistant Bishop (who retires in May) with a Suffragan Bishop.
    5. There is no significant increase in cost involved in this proposal. We already have two bishops paid for by the Church Commissioners and this doesn’t change.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Bishop of Loughborough appointed" in Law & Religion UK, 11 July 2017,

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