Next Bishop of Sheffield Announced
31st January 2017
The next Bishop of Sheffield will be the Rt Revd Philip North, Downing Street has announced today.
The Rt Revd North, who is 50, is currently the Bishop of Burnley, a role he has held since 2015.
The Bishop of Doncaster, the Rt Revd Peter Burrows, commented: “I look forward to welcoming Philip as the next Bishop of Sheffield and as an episcopal Colleague. Philip brings with him considerable experience, passion and deep commitment to mission, evangelism and the church’s historic vocation and ministry to society, especially the most vulnerable. He fits many of the things we said we were looking for in our new Bishop and will serve the diocese and wider church well. I know from comments I’ve already received that he will be greatly missed in the Blackburn Diocese”.
Also speaking about the appointment, the Very Revd Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield commented:
“Sheffield is one of the most dynamic and largest cities in the country, it is changing rapidly, becoming younger and more diverse. I am looking forward to working with Bishop Philip in service of the city’s wider community and in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the whole of his ministry, Bishop Philip has had a determination to work with people who are marginalised to help with their needs and seek justice. We will greatly value this commitment as we all strive to build a stronger, more united city.”
Bishop Philip studied history at the University of York, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1988 when he started to explore a vocation to priestly ministry. He spent a year working as a pastoral assistant in Redhouse, Sunderland, before preparing for ordination at St Stephen's House, Oxford. He graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA degree in 1991. He was ordained as a priest in 1993. Bishop Philip then went on to serve as curate at Saint Mary and Saint Peter's in Sunderland until 1996, after which he became the vicar of Holy Trinity in Hartlepool until 2002, during which time he was also Hartlepool's area dean (2000-2002).
In 2002 he moved to Norfolk where he spent six years as Priest Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, ministering to pilgrims and overseeing the regeneration of the Shrine's buildings and grounds. In 2008 he became team rector in the Parish of Old St Pancras and team vicar at St Michael's Church, Camden Town.
He was consecrated as Bishop of Burnley in February 2015.
Bishop Philip has personal connections with Doncaster. His grandfather played football for Doncaster Rovers, his mother was brought up in the town and he spent much of his childhood in the area. He also visited the Diocese in 2015 for the Crossroads Mission where he spent time in the community of Adwick.
Speaking about his appointment, Bishop Philip said:
“I am thoroughly delighted and deeply honoured to have this opportunity to serve the Diocese of Sheffield and am both excited and challenged by the prospect of succeeding Bishop Steven who has been a great inspiration to me throughout my own ministry. The Diocese has a clear strategy in place for reaching out to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ, and I will enjoy sharing in that and ensuring that all the people in this area know that they can find a warm welcome and answers to their questions in their local Church. I also look forward to finding ways of strengthening our ministry to the poor and the vulnerable and to the young. In a diverse Diocese, I am wholly committed to being a Bishop for everyone and will work to ensure that priests and parishes of all traditions can flourish and find delight in serving God and his people.”
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “It is wonderful news that HM The Queen has approved the nomination of The Rt Revd Philip North as the 8th Bishop of Sheffield. Philip brings with him tremendous energy for mission and ministry. He is a disciple of Christ, full of the Holy Spirit, grace and insight. His wholehearted commitment to Christ, his Gospel and his world will make him a leader who will lead in the way of Christ – with a willingness to be led as well as lead. His experience in a wide range of settings across England have prepared him well for the challenges and opportunities of leadership in the Diocese of Sheffield. It was a joy to work with Bishop Philip on the Crossroads missions both in Sheffield and in Blackburn. His deep understanding of the communities he has served has enabled him to speak for them, and share the love of Christ with them. He is a team player who seeks to bring the best out of everyone. My prayers are with Bishop Philip and the people in the Diocese of Sheffield as he prepares for this exciting new ministry. We look forward to welcoming him to our North East region group of Bishops.”
The Diocesan Secretary for the Diocese of Sheffield, Heidi Adcock said: “We congratulate our new Bishop on his appointment and extend him a very warm welcome. We look forward to working together across the length and breadth of the 500+ square miles that is the Diocese of Sheffield and to support him deliver his vision for the future.”
The Bishop of Sheffield leads the Church of England in Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Goole plus its subsidiary towns and villages
The Diocese of Sheffield was formed in 1914 and is in the Northern Province of York. It has a population of approximately 1.2 million people, 140 stipendiary clergy, 174 parishes and 213 churches. The Diocese is led by the Bishop of Sheffield (Diocesan Bishop) and the Bishop of Doncaster (Suffragan Bishop). They work across two Archdeaconries: Sheffield and Rotherham; and Doncaster that consist of 12 deaneries. Sheffield Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Sheffield.
Speaking today the Diocesan Bishop of Blackburn Diocese, Rt Revd Julian Henderson said:
“Bishop Philip being called by God to serve as the next Bishop of Sheffield is a great sadness for us here in Lancashire, not least that we have only benefited from his passion for the Gospel for just over a couple of years.
“But for Philip this is an exciting opportunity to take on a new leadership role in the Church of England, for which he is well suited. While we may be tempted to be jealous of Sheffield, we need to warn them of the speed at which things tend to happen when he is in charge!
“We assure him of our prayers, our love, our thanks and support, as he makes the transition and settles in to life on the other side of the Pennines.”
Bishop Philip will spend his first day in the Diocese visiting the Cathedral Archer Project at Sheffield Cathedral before going on to the diocesan office where he will have lunch with staff and ecumenical and faith leaders in Rotherham. He will then go on to All Saints Academy, Rossington. He will end his first day in the diocese with Evensong at Sheffield Cathedral at 17.45.
Bishop Philip will be installed at Sheffield Cathedral in June 2017.
Notes for editors
The Rt Revd Philip North was born in North London in 1966. After leaving school he headed north to study history at the University of York which is when he started to explore a vocation to priestly ministry, feeling a particular call to work in inner urban areas. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1988.
He spent a year working as a pastoral assistant in Redhouse, Sunderland, before preparing for ordination at St Stephen's House, Oxford. He graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA degree in 1991. He was ordained as a priest in 1993. He returned to the northeast and to the Diocese of Durham for the first ten years of his ministry, serving as curate at Saint Mary and Saint Peter's in Sunderland until 1996, after which he became the vicar of Holy Trinity in Hartlepool until 2002. He was also Area Dean of Hartlepool, served on the Diocesan Board of Education and assisted the national Springboard evangelism initiative.
In 2002 he moved to Norfolk where he spent six years as Priest Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, ministering to pilgrims and overseeing the regeneration of the Shrine's buildings and grounds. After six years in Walsingham he became Team Rector of the Parish of Old St Pancras, a large inner city parish of four churches in the Camden area of north London. Here he oversaw a large team seeking to develop the community outreach of a parish in an extremely diverse and fast-moving area of London. He chaired the governing body of a church school the roll of which was 68% Muslim and he sought to work closely with the Muslim community in his local area.
He chaired Camden Citizens, part of the Citizens UK community organising group, serves on General Synod and is a member of the Archbishops' Task Group on Evangelism.
He was consecrated as Bishop of Burnley in February 2015. In Burnley, Bishop Philip works in communities of great religious, social and economic diversity. In February 2016, he spoke at General Synod on his hope that hope that the Church of England should ‘rediscover’ its passion for deprived estates across the country (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIfepslCIVU). In November 2016, Bishop Philip appeared in the third instalment of a series of live Bible Study sessions with the Archbishop of Canterbury (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp0EGHYCPVc).
Bishop Philip knows South Yorkshire well and has personal connections with Doncaster. His grandfather played football for Doncaster Rovers, his mother was brought up in the town and he spent much of his childhood in the area. He also visited the Diocese in 2015 for the Crossroads Mission where he spent time in the community of Adwick.
A keen football fan, Bishop Philip has been regularly seen at Burnley matches in his time there. He is also a regular cyclist and has commented how he is looking forward to cycling the hills of Sheffield. Bishop Philip also loves to read.