The Dreadlocked Barefooted Bishop of Wellington

Update: Watch the news on TV and read May 5 NZ Herald interview.

Original: Some very exciting news. The papers are ablaze this weekend with the announcement that Justin Duckworth has been elected Bishop of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. 

“The Anglican Church needs to be ”dusted off” and it believes a dreadlocked, barefooted priest is the man to do it.” Dominion Post

“The 44-year-old . . . said he felt “humbled, privileged, excited – and terrified” to have been chosen as bishop.” NZ Herald

“He has dreadlocks, for starters. He’s usually in shorts and bare feet, too. But the voters in the Diocese of Wellington saw past that. They saw instead that he’s been at the cutting edge of Christian ministry “to the last, the lost and the least” in Wellington for 25 years.” Wellington Scoop

“The new bishop speaks candidly about his love of marathon-running, mountain-climbing and directing stage musicals – and advises he may soon be recruiting members of the clergy to take part.”

 Justin and Jenny founded the Ngatiawa contemporary monastery where they now live and where my family have erected our yurt. You might have already read about the Duckworths on my posts “Prophets of the New Order” and “Covenant Making is Not Always Evil” or from their book, On the Waka Against the Tide, Towards the Kingdom. Justin is also working on his PhD which deals with how monastic orders and radical discipleship movements have enabled the church to renew itself and reemerge as fresh and vital. 

justin duckworth signs offer of bishop of wellington appointment

Justin Duckworth, behind a desk, signing his acceptance of this appointment and hiding his feet at the same time.

We are thrilled about this decision. Justin and Jenny, and their wide network of committed youth that extends well beyond the ministry of Urban Vision, will be a great gift to the Anglican world. God is obviously at work and has great plans for this country. I am looking forward to coming back to New Zealand next week to join the celebration. Check out the interview on this video.

Here’s a photo I took a few weeks ago of Justin [opps . . . I mean his Excellency . .  his Eminence . .. The Most UpStanding and EverRight Bishop Justin Duckworth the 11th, referred to herewith and foreafter as “His Irreverency”] sanding the floor of our yurt at 2am in the morning. Probably something very prophetic and symbolic there, but I just can’t think what it might be. Well done Bishop Justin! Very excited for you and for the church in New Zealand. 

Justin sanding floor

And thanks for the help with sanding the floor – great job! An excellent job! An eminent job! Except for that spot you missed . . . 

Go Further: The article to read, which includes the Archbishop’s quote below, is at Anglican Taonga

“The Electoral College clearly identified Justin’s Christian lifestyle, Christian discipleship and Christian mission as key – and I am confident that his election will challenge, inviigorate and grace the church with a deep sense of the breadth and height and depth of the love of God.” Archbishop David Moxon

Related Posts on TSK: What if church could be more like summer camp? Against the Tide, Towards the Kingdom


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.

1 Comment

  • Simon says:

    Hey Andrew, yup, fantastic news, but he’s not officially a bishop until other episcopal hands have been laid on him at his ordination/consecration service.
    Hope the yurt building is going well.

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