A new Bishop of Huddersfield has been appointed and will take up her role in the summer.

The Rev Canon Smitha Prasadam, currently serving the Anglican Church in Denmark, will be consecrated at York Minster on Thursday June 22.

She will attend her first service as Bishop of Huddersfield on Saturday June 24 at St Peter’s Church in Huddersfield town centre at a service where new priests will be ordained. There will be a formal welcome service at Halifax Minster on September 2.

Born in India, Smitha is renowned for her work in racial justice and also for her work with children and young people.

Smitha replaces the Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Gibbs who became the first ever Bishop of Huddersfield in 2014. He was consecrated at York Minster by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu.

Bishop Jonathan, as he liked to be known, also served a three-year term as lead bishop for safeguarding until the end of March and left to become Bishop of Rochester in the South East.

For Smitha, currently chaplain of St Albans in Copenhagen, it’s a return to Yorkshire. As a student Smitha studied English Literature and Linguistics at the College of Ripon and York St John (University of Leeds).

Smitha, whose role as Bishop of Huddersfield covers the whole of Kirklees and Calderdale, said: “I can’t wait to start meeting people in God’s own country again.

“This is where I came as a student and began my journey so it holds a special place in my heart. I’m looking forward to working together with parishes, clergy and community throughout Kirklees and Calderdale to encourage people in confident discipleship and relish the thought of embracing cultural, educational, commercial and inter-faith partners so we can support this wonderful place and its people in common cause.”

Born into the Church of South India, her family then moved to the Anglican Church in Wales. Both her parents were pioneer mission partners with the Church Missionary Society, and her mother was the first Indian woman ordained in the UK.

Smitha and her family have lived in different places across the UK and she’s been in Denmark since 2018.

“Home is anywhere and everywhere and hospitality both at the Lord’s table and the kitchen table makes me happy,” said Smitha. “My ministry in parish, advocacy and advisory roles over 20 years is joy, justice and dreaming God’s dream anew.

“I hope to be instrumental in connecting people to God, so they can discover a sense of something wondrous, joyous and beautiful, to develop and deepen a relationship with God that is lifegiving and meaningful in today’s challenging world.”

Archbishop of York the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell said: “It is really good to welcome the announcement of Smitha as the next Bishop of Huddersfield.

“She will bring to the role a passion for justice, a desire to see people come to faith in Christ, and for the whole church to reach out in loving service to the communities it serves. As someone who lived in Huddersfield for nine years, I feel confident that her ministry will be a blessing to that lovely town.”

As Bishop’s adviser, Smitha initiated the Racial Justice Working Group in the Diocese of Europe. As a member of the Archbishop’s Transformations Steering Group she championed women’s vocational pathways.

Smitha is passionate about liturgy which breathes life into ancient texts so that they can be heard with new meaning and relevance. She is known for mission and partnership with children and young people in schools. 

Smitha currently serves as Bishop’s racial justice adviser, vocations adviser and chair of the House of Clergy in the Diocese in Europe.

She is also a member of the General Synod, the Liturgical Commission, St John’s College Council Durham, FGPSC and is chair of Anglican Minority Ethnic Network (AMEN).