Bishop of Oxford announced

The Prime Minister’s Office has made the following announcement 

Bishop of Oxford: Steven John Lindsey Croft

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

First published: 12 April 2016

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Steven John Lindsey Croft as Her Majesty’s Bishop of Oxford.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Steven John Lindsey Croft, MA, PhD, Lord Bishop of Sheffield, in the Diocese of Sheffield for election as Bishop of Oxford in succession to the Right Reverend John Lawrence Pritchard, MA, MLitt, on his resignation on 31 October 2014.

Notes for editors

The Right Reverend Dr Steven Croft (aged 58) is from Halifax in West Yorkshire. He studied first at Worcester College, Oxford and then at St John’s College, Durham where he trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall. He served his title as Curate at St Andrew Enfield in London Diocese from 1983 to 1987. In 1987 he returned to Halifax to be Vicar of St George, Ovenden in the Diocese of Wakefield. From 1996 he moved to become Warden at Cranmer Hall, Durham, before taking up the role of Archbishops’ Missioner and Team Leader of Fresh Expressions in 2004. Since 2009 he has been the Bishop of Sheffield.

At the heart of Bishop Steven’s ministry in Sheffield has been a desire to connect the Church across the Diocese more deeply together as one body with a common sense of mission and purpose and to enable the diocese to engage with mission in the wider community with confidence and hope. He has worked creatively with Anglicans of all traditions in a very diverse diocese as well as with civic and community leaders and the leaders of other churches and other faiths.

Bishop Steven became a member of the House of Lords in 2013. He is 1 of 2 bishops elected to serve on the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, and has been chair of the Ministry Council since 2012. In 2008 he was awarded the Cross of St. Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his work with fresh expressions. He is the author of a number of books on Christian life and ministry and a novel for children. He writes a regular blog. [Hyperlinks added]

Bishop Steven is married to Ann. They have 4 adult children and 1 grandchild. He is a keen cook and bakes his own bread.”

The DIocese of Oxford has issued the following Press Release:

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft is the new Bishop of Oxford

The new Bishop of Oxford is to be the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Downing Street announced today. Bishop Steven succeeds the Rt Revd John Pritchard, who retired in October 2014 after seven years in post.

Bishop Steven, who is 58, is currently Bishop of Sheffield, a role he has held since 2009. He serves on the Archbishop’s Council and Chairs the Ministry Council of the Church of England. He has been a member of the House of Lords since 2013.

He has a passion for mission and evangelism and for finding creative ways of sharing the Gospel. He is the co-author of the Emmaus and Pilgrim courses, both of which are resources to help people engage with the Christian faith.

The Bishop of Oxford leads the Church of England in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, supported by the Area Bishops of Dorchester, Buckingham and Reading. The Diocese is one of the largest and most complex in the Church of England, stretching from Milton Keynes in the north to Newbury in the south; from the Cotswolds in the west to Slough in the east.

The Diocese has a population of 2.3 million people, more than 800 churches and almost 600 parochial clergy. It also includes 12 secondary and 270 primary church schools.  As the senior bishop in the Diocese, Bishop Steven will lead a large team and is expected to have a wide ranging role across the Thames Valley alongside his national responsibilities.

Bishop Steven has personal connections with Oxford: he is a graduate of Worcester College, Oxford, and met and married his wife Ann in the city. The family lived in Oxford from 2004 until 2009 when Bishop Steven was leading ‘Fresh Expressions’, an initiative aimed at encouraging new forms of church for the 21st century.

Speaking about his appointment, Bishop Steven said: ”I am looking forward enormously to a new challenge and new responsibility in the Diocese of Oxford and to working with the senior team and many others to serve the local communities and to build up the life of the Church. There are many signs of God’s grace at work across the Diocese and immense potential for the future.  I would ask for the prayers of the Diocese in the coming weeks and months for all that lies ahead.”

The Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, who is serving as Acting Bishop of Oxford during the vacancy, said: “Today is a great day for our Diocese as we welcome the announcement of the next Bishop of Oxford.  As both a diocesan bishop and as a parish priest Steven has shown a passion for sharing the good news of Christ in both traditional and innovative ways. Link that to his wide experience of training men and women for a variety of ministries and you can understand there will be much rejoicing around the Diocese today. ”

During the announcement day Bishop Steven will travel across the diocese, visiting all three counties of his new diocese. The day begins with breakfast with colleagues in Bicester, an area of significant new housing development, and end with Evening Prayer at the Cathedral.

“Today will be just a whistlestop tour but I’m very much looking forward to making longer visits to all corners of the diocese when I take up office later in the year,” he said.

The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, said: “The Cathedral very much looks forward to welcoming Bishop Steven to Oxford, and to the wider diocese.

“Bishop Steven comes with a wealth of experience in ministry, mission  and in theological education, and the diocese will welcome the many gifts that he will bring to our work across the cities, communities and counties of the diocese.  The diocese – like its cathedral – is both complex and unique, and we look forward to the distinctive gifts that Bishop Steven will bring to us in our shared vocation.”

Bishop Steven expects to take up office in the early autumn.

Biography

Notes for editors

For further information phone Sarah Meyrick on 07824 906839 or Jo Duckles on 01865 208227″

Bishop Steven’s blog has posted  A Letter from Bishop Steven.

Comment

The see of Oxford has been vacant since 31 October 2014. At its meeting on 11/12 May 2015, the Crown Nominations Committee (CNC) was reported to be “unable to discern the candidate whom God is calling at this stage to be the next Bishop of Oxford”, and in view of a number of meetings in place for the rest of the year, the Oxford CNC reconvened on the 4 February 2016 with the second meeting on the 7/8 March 2016. As noted above, Bishop Steven is expected to take up office in “early autumn”, ending the two year interregnum.

Since he is currently a Lord Spiritual, his translation from Sheffield to Oxford will be governed by Standing Order 1.09, Companion to the Standing Orders and Guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords [2015] , viz.

“1.09 An archbishop, on appointment or translation to another see, and a bishop who has become entitled to sit or who already has a seat and is translated to another see, applies for a writ to the Lord Chancellor with evidence to support his or her claim”.

The CNC meetings at which his appointment was considered were the second, and remaining pair currently scheduled for 2016; the see of Sheffield is therefore most likely to be then next to be considered and consequently, the interregnum should be considerably shorter than that of Oxford. With regard to women bishops in the House of Lords, since Bishop Steven is currently a Lord Spiritual, his translation to Oxford will not create vacancy on the bishops’ benches; if a woman is appointed to the see of Sheffield, when a vacancy next arises she will become eligible to become one of the 21 Lords Spiritual under S1(3) Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Bishop of Oxford announced" in Law & Religion UK, 12 April 2016, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2016/04/12/bishop-of-oxford-announced/

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