The appointment of an Assistant Bishop for the Anglican Diocese of Wellington is clearing the way for Bishop Justin Duckworth to move to Whanganui early next year.

The Reverend Canon Dr Eleanor Sanderson has just been appointed Assistant Bishop for the large Wellington Diocese. One of the reasons for the new appointment was to allow Bishop Justin to be "more present on the ground in the north".

His church office said Bishop Justin and Assistant Bishop Eleanor will spend the next six months figuring out how they will work together.

Bishop Justin is not sure where he wants to base himself in Whanganui. He will take a few weekends to come here, look around and find out what the community needs.


"The intention is that he will make the move early in 2018. There is some praying and reflecting and thinking to do between now and then," Whanganui Archdeacon Stuart Goodin said.

One aspect that's likely to interest Bishop Justin is the way Whanganui Anglicans are dealing with the necessity of downsizing, given smaller congregations and service duplication. He has maintained a steady interest in progress.

Whanganui used to have four Anglican parishes. A process of amalgamation began in 2015 and the four became one at a combined special general meeting at the end of February.

It's now the Anglican Parish of Whanganui, has elected a new governing body and held its first annual general meeting on April 23.

"It was an interesting affair. We looked back as four and forward as one," Mr Goodin said.

Getting agreement to any changes has not been easy. At the moment the parish is in a holding pattern, with Wednesday services at All Saints and St Peter's.

There are still two Sunday services a month at St Chad's and St John's, and one Sunday service a month at St Oswald's and St Mary's.

The main Sunday services, two, are at Christ Church in the middle of town.


Achieving amalgamation was wonderful, Mr Goodin said.

"The exciting thing is now being able to make our forward decisions together as one, with one governance body, rather than as four.

"The focus now is on building the sense of unity. It remains a work in progress."