Today Downing Street has announced that the next Bishop of Sheffield will be the Very Revd Dr Pete Wilcox.
The Very Revd Wilcox is currently the Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, a role he has held since 2012. The Bishop of Doncaster, the Rt Revd Peter Burrows, commented:
“I know that Pete has a real sense of calling to the diocese and brings with him strong leadership and a range of skills that will help us continue in our outreach to the wider communities of South Yorkshire and East Riding. I look forward to working with Pete and welcoming him to the diocese in due course.”
Also speaking about the appointment, the Very Revd Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield said:
“Young people in Sheffield and South Yorkshire are more likely to experience poverty than any other age group, I really welcome Pete’s emphasis on listening to and supporting young people. Our young people have amazing gifts that all of us need to engage with to build a just community in our area.”
The Very Revd Dr Pete Wilcox has been ordained for over 25 years. He trained at Ridley Hall in Cambridge after completing a degree in modern history at Durham University. After serving as a curate on Teesside, he studied for a doctorate at Oxford University. In 1993, he returned to the Durham Diocese to serve as a team vicar in the Parish of Gateshead, while assisting in the training of ordinands at Cranmer Hall as Director of its Urban Mission Centre.
In 1998 he took up a new position as priest in charge of St Paul’s Church at the Crossing in Walsall. Between August 2006 and July 2012 he was Canon Chancellor at Lichfield Cathedral, a post which involved oversight of the Cathedral’s work in education and outreach.
He is married to the novelist, Catherine Fox and they have two adult sons. Pete is a fan of all ball sports, and follows the fortunes of Newcastle United especially closely. He is the author of three books: Living the Dream (2007), Walking the Walk (2009) and Talking the Talk (2011).
Theological education and ministerial formation remain key interests for Pete, and bible teaching is his chief passion. Speaking about his appointment, he said:
“Although the journey has been unconventional, to say the least, I feel called by God to this role and am therefore thrilled to be coming to the Diocese of Sheffield. There will be much for me to learn, but I am excited about the work which is already underway to share the good news about Jesus, and to work for the justice and peace which the kingdom of God will bring.”
The Archbishop of York commented:
“The Diocese of Sheffield, as part of its Centenary celebrations, under the leadership of Bishop Steven Croft invited all the Bishops of the Northern Province to participate in their Crossroads Mission. This set the pattern for future Bishops missions’ in the Northern Province and encouraged the Bishops and their mission teams to make Christ visible together in mission.
“The nomination of The Very Reverend Dr Pete Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool, as the 8th Bishop of Sheffield will take the Diocese forward in its evangelistic and mission opportunities for the peoples of the Diocese of Sheffield. He is a gifted and renowned Bible teacher, pastor and enthusiastic evangelist. He is totally committed to social justice and human flourishing.
“He will lead the Diocese of Sheffield in the way of Christ with insight and oversight with a readiness to change, challenge and be challenged. His love of Jesus and His Gospel, His Church, the Body of Christ and the diverse peoples of God’s world will make him a Bishop who will work in partnership with all.
“I am grateful for the wise pastoral and missional leadership of Bishop Peter Burrows and the Diocesan Leadership team. Thank you very much.”
The Bishop-Designate will spend his first day in the Diocese visiting St Swithun’s Church, Sheffield Manor Parish before going on to Rotherham where he will visit the regular coffee morning at the Minster – meeting local people and other faith leaders. He will then move on to Doncaster Minster where a Lent course is taking place. He will end his first day in the diocese with Evensong at Sheffield Cathedral at 17.45.
The Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, said: “This is a tremendous appointment for the Diocese of Sheffield. I have valued Pete immensely as a colleague and friend here in Liverpool. I shall miss his commitment to faithful study and teaching of Scripture, his living out of the cathedral’s mission as “a safe place to do risky things in Christ’s service”, and his generosity in making the cathedral a place where the diverse body of the church can come together to worship and to learn. He has built on the rich heritage of Cathedral Deans here, and has strengthened the cathedral’s reputation as a place of welcome, worship, thought and service.
I will miss Pete as a colleague in the Diocese of Liverpool but I look forward now to working alongside him in the House of Bishops. I know that as Diocesan bishop, Pete will act as a focus of unity, encouraging all in the diocese of Sheffield to live out their lives as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. I pray God’s blessing upon Pete and Cathy as they their move to Sheffield gathers pace.”
The Very Revd Pete Wilcox will be consecrated at York Minster at some point over the summer months. Following his consecration, he will look to start his new role fully in the autumn of 2017.
The role of the Bishop of Sheffield has been vacant since the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft left to become Bishop of Oxford in June 2016. On 30 January 2017, it was announced that the Rt Revd Philip North, current Bishop of Burnley, would be the next Bishop of Sheffield. However, after much debate around his traditional beliefs on the ordination of women, he announced he had withdrawn from the role on 9 March for the sake of God’s mission in the diocese.
Speaking about the latest announcement, Bishop Philip North said:
“I am overjoyed to hear the news that Pete Wilcox is to be the next Bishop of Sheffield, a priest whose ministry I have long admired. He will bring great intelligence, insight and evangelistic energy to the Diocese of Sheffield along with experience of ministry from a wide variety of contexts. I pray that clergy and laypeople of all traditions will be able to unite around his leadership and so together continue to bring renewal to the Parishes of the Diocese to the glory of God.”