Local consultations held as part of process to appoint next Bishop of Sheffield
13th September 2016
When the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft was announced as the next Bishop of Oxford earlier this year, the process to appoint his successor started immediately. During September, hundreds of local people have took the opportunity to give their thoughts on what skills and qualities they would like to see in a new Bishop of Sheffield.
From 6-9 September, two Appointments Secretaries visited the Sheffield Diocese. They each represent the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Prime Minister’s Office. This will actually be the first bishop that the current Prime Minister, Theresa May appoints. The Secretaries conducted over 110 interviews (a new record for the Appointment Secretaries). These interviews took place with clergy, councillors, civic leaders, other faith groups, the media, sporting groups, charities and youth groups and many more. An open consultation was also held in Sheffield Cathedral.
The process is long, (fairly) complex but also very interesting. When Bishop Steven announced he would be leaving his post it created a ‘Vacancy in the See of Sheffield’. Therefore, at this point, a ‘Vacancy in See Committee’ is called into action. The Vacancy in See Committee (25 members) first met in June 2016. It has been chaired by the Rt Revd Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster, who also acts as the Bishop of Sheffield during this time. At this meeting, they nominated several people to be on the Statement of Needs working group.
The Statement of Needs is a document that acts a detailed profile of the Diocese. This gives those appointing the new Bishop, as well as potential candidates, a chance to see what abilities and talents may be needed to lead our Diocese.
After a good consultation response, two drafting group meetings, endless proofreads and trawling thousands of Diocesan photographs, the Statement of Needs was completed on schedule. Hot off the press, this can now be shared! It is available to download here: Diocese of Sheffield Statement of Needs 2016.
As well as producing the Statement, since that first meeting in June three more Committee meetings have taken place. At the final meeting of the committee, on 5 September, members nominated and then voted for the individuals they want to represent the Diocese in the next stage of the process on the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC). The six elected members are: the Rt Revd Peter Burrows, the Revd Canon Geoffrey Harbord, Ann Brown, Shaun Clarkson, Mark Russell and the Revd Canon Ian Smith.
The next stage…
The Crown Nominations Commission will meet on 1 November and 28-29 November. As well as the six elected members from the Sheffield Diocese, this is made up of:
- The Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
- Three members of the House of Clergy: The Revd John Dunnett, The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby and The Very Revd Andrew Nunn.
- Three members of the House of Laity: Aiden Hargreaves-Smith, April Alexander and Jane Patterson.
Together they will look at the Statement of Needs, along with the responses from the interviews, and start to discuss a short list of potential candidates who will be approached and interviewed. Taking all things into consideration, the CNC will nominate two names to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister usually selects the first name recommended and, as long as the candidate accepts, informs HM The Queen who then formally nominates them.
Please keep them in your prayers. A prayer has been created by the Diocesan Spirituality Adviser, Revd Neil Bowler, for those in the process of discernment, based on the Collect for the Guidance of the Holy Spirit:
you have given your Holy Spirit to the Church
to lead us into all truth:
bless with the Spirit’s grace and presence
those who will discern and choose the next Bishop of Sheffield.
Keep them steadfast in faith and united in love
that they may seek your will and hear your voice.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,