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Guli Francis-Dehqani

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Guli Francis-Dehqani
Bishop of Chelmsford
ChurchChurch of England
DioceseDiocese of Chelmsford
In office2021–present
Other post(s)Diocesan Adviser for Women's Ministry (2012–2017) and Curate Training Officer (2011–2017), Diocese of Peterborough
Bishop of Loughborough (2017-2021)
Ordination1998 (deacon)
by Tom Butler
1999 (priest)
by Wilfred Wood
Consecration30 November 2017
by Justin Welby
Personal details
Gulnar Eleanor Dehqani-Tafti

(1966-06-18) 18 June 1966 (age 57)
ParentsHassan Dehqani-Tafti & Margaret Thompson
SpouseLee né Francis
Alma mater
Member of the House of Lords
(Lord Spiritual)
Assumed office
1 November 2021

Gulnar Eleanor "Guli" Francis-Dehqani (born 18 June 1966) is an Iranian-born British Anglican bishop who has been Bishop of Chelmsford since 2021. She previously served as the first Bishop of Loughborough, the sole suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Leicester from 2017 to 2021.

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  • The Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani - Honorary Degree - University of Leicester


Early life and education

Guli Dehqani-Tafti was born in Isfahan, Iran in 1966.[1][2] Her father Hassan Dehqani-Tafti (1920–2008) was the Anglican Bishop in Iran from 1961 until his retirement in 1990, serving also as President Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, 1976–1986. Her mother Margaret was a daughter of William Thompson (Bishop in Iran, 1935–1960). In October 1979, after the Iranian Revolution, her parents were attacked in an assassination attempt which left her mother wounded,[3][4] and her 24-year-old brother, Bahram, was murdered by Iranian government agents in May 1980.[3] When she was 14, her family was forced to leave the country in the wake of the Iranian Revolution;[5] the family settled in Hampshire, where Hassan remained Bishop in exile.[6]

She was educated at Clarendon School for Girls, a private boarding school in Bedfordshire at the time she attended.[7] She went on to study music at the University of Nottingham, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1989.[1][8] She studied theology at the University of Bristol, graduating with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in 1994 and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 1999.[8][1] Her doctoral thesis was titled "Religious feminism in an age of empire: CMS women missionaries in Iran, 1869–1934".[9] From 1995 to 1998, she trained for ordination at the South East Institute of Theological Education.[1]

Ordained ministry

Francis-Dehqani was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon at Michaelmas (27 September) 1998 by Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark, at Southwark Cathedral.[10] She was ordained a priest the following Michaelmas (2 October 1999) by Wilfred Wood, Bishop of Croydon, at All Saints', Kingston-upon-Thames.[11] From 1998 to 2002, she served her curacy at St Mary the Virgin, Mortlake with East Sheen in the Diocese of Southwark.[8][1] Then, from 2002 to 2004, she was a chaplain to the Royal Academy of Music and to St Marylebone C of E School.[8] In 2004, she stepped down from full-time ministry to raise her children.[8] From 2004 to 2011, she held Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Peterborough.[1] She also worked at the University of Northampton Multi-Faith Chaplaincy between 2009 and 2010 "helping the chaplaincy team develop a more effective multi-faith approach".[12]

In 2011, Francis-Dehqani returned to full-time ministry, having been appointed Curate Training Officer for the Diocese of Peterborough.[8] She was additionally appointed the diocese's Adviser for Women's Ministry in 2012.[1] 2013–2017, she was a Member of the General Synod[13][12] (she was later an elected suffragan member, 2019–2021, and ex officio as a diocesan, since 2021). She was made an honorary canon of Peterborough Cathedral in November 2016.[14]

Episcopal ministry

On 11 July 2017, it was announced that Francis-Dehqani would become the first Bishop of Loughborough, the suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Leicester.[8] In addition to her suffragan duties, she also had "a focus on supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) clergy, lay workers and congregations" within the diocese.[13][15] She was consecrated a bishop during a service at Canterbury Cathedral on 30 November 2017.[13][16] This made her the first BAME woman to be made a bishop in the Church of England.[17]

It was announced on 17 December 2020 that Francis-Dehqani was to translate to Chelmsford in 2021, becoming the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Chelmsford (East London and Essex).[18] Her canonical election by the College of Canons of Chelmsford Cathedral took place by teleconference on 26 January 2021;[19] the confirmation of her election, by which she legally took her new See, was on 11 March 2021.[20]

She joined the House of Lords as one of the Lords Spiritual, under the Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015 on 1 November 2021.[21] In May 2023, she took part in the 2023 Coronation, one of three female Bishops to do so.[22]

Personal life

She is married to Lee Francis-Dehqani, a fellow Anglican priest and canon: at the time of her appointment as bishop he was serving as Team Rector of Oakham and Rural Dean of Rutland and in 2018 was appointed Team Rector of the Fosse Team in Leicester Diocese. Together they have three children.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Gulnar Eleanor (Guli) Francis-Dehqani". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  2. ^ Cox, Megan (11 July 2017). "First Bishop of Loughborough announced". Loughborough Echo. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b "The Rt Rev Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, Bishop of Iran who survived an assassination attempt and had to continue his ministry in exile". The Telegraph. 5 May 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2008.
  4. ^ "Unholy War: Assault on Iran's Anglicans". Time. 16 May 1980. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2008.
  5. ^ Mack, Tom (11 July 2017). "Meet the first ever Bishop of Loughborough - and read her incredible story". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Bishop's wife took bullet to save her husband's life | God Reports". Archived from the original on 12 November 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  7. ^ "OC News: Bishop of Loughborough". OM News: 13. 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2022. Guli Francis-Dehqani nee Dehqani-Tafti (83) has become Bishop of Loughborough making her Clarendon's first UK female Bishop
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Queen has approved the appointment of the Reverend Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani to the Suffragan See of Loughborough". GOV.UK. Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street. 11 July 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  9. ^ Francis-Dehqani, Gulnar Eleanor (1999). Religious feminism in an age of empire: CMS women missionaries in Iran, 1869-1934. E-Thesis Online Service (Ph.D). The British Library. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Michaelmas ordinations". Church Times. No. 7078. 9 October 1998. p. 4. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 13 July 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  11. ^ "Michaelmas ordinations". Church Times. No. 7130. 8 October 1999. p. 19. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 13 July 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  12. ^ a b "Revd Dr Guli Francis – Dehqani" (PDF). Diocese of Peterborough. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  13. ^ a b c "Persian woman appointed as first Bishop of Loughborough". Diocese of Leicester. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Appointments". Church Times. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Iranian-born woman becomes first Bishop of Loughborough". ITV News. 11 July 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  16. ^ "The Bridge" (newspaper of the Anglican Diocese of Southwark) Vol 22 No 10 p3, December 2017
  17. ^ "First Church of England female bishop from a minority ethnic community". Anglican Communion News Service. Anglican Communion Office. 12 July 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Next Bishop of Chelmsford announced". Diocese of Chelmsford. 17 December 2020. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Chelmsford Cathedral".
  20. ^ "Timetable announced for the start of Bishop Guli's Ministry in Chelmsford Diocese | Chelmsford Diocese".
  21. ^ "Lords Spiritual". The Church of England in Parliament. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  22. ^ "Coronation order of service in full". BBC News. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
This page was last edited on 31 August 2023, at 15:47
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