Current Bishop of Sheffield to be next Bishop of Oxford - What happens now?

12th April 2016

What’s happened?

On 12 April 2016, it was announced that the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield will be the next Bishop of Oxford.  Steven has been the Diocesan Bishop of Sheffield since 2009, and it is with some sadness but very warm wishes that we see him move on.

What next?

When the announcement was made on 12 April, Bishop Steven and his wife, Ann, were in Oxford, but he returns to the Diocese of Sheffield that same week to continue business largely as usual.  The move to Oxford Diocese will likely take place in August.  A farewell service has been provisionally booked in Sheffield Cathedral in July (further details to be announced in due course).  In the meantime, Bishop Steven is looking forward to the regular programme of parish visits, Deanery confirmations and continuing to plan for the launch of St Peter’s College.

Of course, when Steven leaves in August to take up his new post, a vacancy (in the See of Sheffield) will be created.

Leadership of the Diocese

The Rt Revd Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster, and the Suffragan bishop for the Diocese of Sheffield will take the helm of the Diocese while a new diocesan Bishop of Sheffield is appointed.  During this period also, the appointment process for a new bishop will begin…

How will the next Bishop of Sheffield be appointed?

The process for choosing a diocesan bishop begins in the diocese. However, because of the variety of roles which diocesan bishops have, not only within the Church of England but also in the local community and the nation at large, the choice is not made by representatives of the diocese alone. Diocesan representatives work with representatives of the wider Church of England, under the presidency of the Archbishops.

The Vacancy in See Committee (see below) will be called into action.  It will put together a ‘Statement of Needs’ for the Diocese and its thoughts on the qualities needed in the next Bishop of Sheffield. This is a very important piece of work.  Once complete it is sent to the Crown Nominations Committee (CNC).

The CNC is made up of The Archbishops of Canterbury and York; three members elected by the General Synod's House of Clergy from within itself; three members elected by the General Synod's House of Laity from itself; and six members elected by Sheffield’s Vacancy-in-See Committee from itself.  The CNC will meet twice in the autumn of 2016 and, taking all things into consideration, will then 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.

How can I make my views known?

A national announcement in the church press will invite members of the public to submit comments and possible names to the Appointments Secretaries.  These are considered by the CNC, along with all the other information.

What is the timescale?

It is likely that the CNC will consider the vacancy in November/December 2016, with any possible announcement in January/February 2017.  It is therefore unlikely that a new Bishop of Sheffield will take up office until spring of next year.

The Vacancy in See Committee members are:

  • Sheila Barnes
  • Pat Bradey
  • The Very Revd Peter Bradley
  • Ann Brown
  • The Rt Revd Peter Burrows
  • Dr Jackie Butcher
  • The Revd Victoria Camber
  • The Revd Margaret Caunt
  • The Ven Malcolm Chamberlain
  • Shaun Clarkson
  • The Revd Canon Mark Cockayne
  • The Revd Canon Geoffrey Harbord
  • The Revd David Hildred
  • The Revd Toby Hole
  • The Revd Alan Isaacson
  • The Revd Fiona Kouble
  • Jonathan Lockwood
  • Jane Patterson
  • Canon Elizabeth Paver
  • Martin Pearson
  • Colin Peskett
  • Canon Peter Rainford
  • Liz Roberts
  • The Revd Eleanor Robertshaw
  • Canon Mark Russell
  • The Revd Canon Ian Smith
  • The Ven Stephen Wilcockson

At the moment of the announcement by the Prime Minister's Office (9.30am, 12 April 2016), the above committee is frozen and no new members can join it.

The Diocesan Secretary, in this case Heidi Adcock, is the Secretary to the Vacancy in See Committee and coordinates the meetings.

For a more detailed overview of this process you can read the Briefing for Members of Vacancy in See Committees produced by the Church of England (Link).

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