Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Sheffield: Peter Wilcox

Press release for Number 10

Bishop of Sheffield: Peter Wilcox

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 7 April 2017

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Peter Jonathan Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool, for election as Bishop of Sheffield.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Peter Jonathan Wilcox, MA, DPhil, Dean of Liverpool, in the diocese of Liverpool, for election as Bishop of Sheffield in succession to the Right Reverend Steven John Lindsey Croft, MA, PhD, on his translation to the See of Oxford on 6 July 2016.

Background

The Very Reverend Dr Pete Wilcox, aged 55, studied history at Saint John’s College, Durham.

He trained for the ordained ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge and served his title at Preston-on-Tees, in the diocese of Durham from 1987 to 1990.

From 1990 to 1993, while completing a doctorate at St John’s College, Oxford, he was Non-Stipendiary Minister at Saint Margaret with Saint Philip and Saint James, with Saint Giles in the Diocese of Oxford. From 1993 to 1998 he was Team Vicar in the Parish of Gateshead, in the diocese of Durham, and Director of the Cranmer Hall Urban Mission Centre. From 1998 to 2006 he was Priest-in-Charge at Saint Paul’s at the Crossing, Walsall in the diocese of Lichfield and then Canon Residentiary at Lichfield Cathedral between 2006 and 2012. Since 2012 he has been Dean of Liverpool.

Pete is married to the novelist Catherine Fox, who lectures in creative writing at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. They have 2 adult sons: Jon, who is married to Izzy, and Tom, who is engaged to Rosa.

He has a mildly obsessive interest in all ball sports, especially (as a fan of Newcastle United) football. He is the author of 3 books, including ‘Living the Dream: Joseph for Today’ (Paternoster, 2007).

The Sheffield diocesan website has Bishop of Sheffield Announced.

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Andrew
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Andrew

I do wonder whether the announcement of a new bishop should have waited until the review into the previous appointment had been conluded. And shouldn’t there have been a new CNC for this? After all the last one was something of a shambles. That being said this may turn out to be a good appointment but he will need to make a positive statement regarding women’s ministry fairly soon.

rjb
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rjb

As a fan of Newcastle United, how can the new bishop claim to be a focus of unity for the diocese of Sheffield? How can priests who hate football have confidence in the pastoral support of their bishop? Is this really the right man to head the Church in the year when Sheffield FC will mark their 160th anniversary? Oh, so many urgent questions…

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Two OT experts in a row…

David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

I can imagine Pete Wilcox doing a fine job and pray God’s blessing upon him. But while there has been much talk about discrimination in one direction we might note that it plainly continues to be very difficult for comparably (or more) experienced and suitably gifted women to become diocesan bishops in the Church of England.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

There is Bristol to come, David

Kate
Guest
Kate

“I do wonder whether the announcement of a new bishop should have waited until the review into the previous appointment had been conluded. And shouldn’t there have been a new CNC for this? After all the last one was something of a shambles. That being said this may turn out to be a good appointment but he will need to make a positive statement regarding women’s ministry fairly soon.” I think it is rather unfair to Peter Wilcot that this has been announced before the review concludes. If the review concluded that Philip North had been unfairly hounded out as… Read more »

Neil Patterson
Guest
Neil Patterson

Is it a new development that we are informed of the marital status not only of the new Bishop, but of his children?

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

I have no criticism whatsoever of Pete Wilcox (just the opposite in fact). Nevertheless he fits the establishment mould supremely: white, upper-middle-class, married (to a woman), son of a bishop, evangelical (but no so much as to frighten the horses). The suddenness of this appointment makes you think that the establishment were desperate to anoint yet another one of their own. Whereas Jeffrey John, white (but Welsh), gay, anglo-catholic… and I suspect, though Wikipedia is silent on this, that he did not go to a ‘public school’ (though he did go to Oxford) and comes from a working- or lower-middle-class… Read more »

DBD
Guest

Neil: no, the trend of listing all of a bishop-designate’s progeny and their kosher status (i.e. opposite-sex marriage and proven fertility) has been increasing for a few years now 🙁

NJW
Guest
NJW

Many seem to have forgotten that the CNC provide two names. Hence it is difficult to sustain a criticism of the speed of the announcement – this was always the second candidate in case the first did not accept or take up the post.

DBD
Guest

David E.: Fascinating! I had no idea Pete’s the son of a bishop (David Peter, Bishop of Dorking, I presume?) — information (especially on living persons) cannot be listed on Wikipedia without a reliable public citation and there simply isn’t one for his schooling or parentage. (Or not that I’ve found so far.)

Father David
Guest
Father David

Tim goes to Lambeth, Mike retires from Bristol and Pete to Sheffield. Perhaps if Philip and Jeffrey were known as Phil and Jeff, they might have more of a chance of preferment?

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

I will refrain from making any ‘personal’ comments on Dean Wilcox’s appointment, since such comments are, in my view, wholly inappropriate (it is regrettable that some people on this blog think it appropriate to make such comments, and it is encouraging to see (on another blog) that Peter Wilcox has the support of +Philip North.) I will confine my comments to (1) the role of the CNC in the appointment process and criticism of the announcement being made before Sir Philip Mawer has responded to the archbishops’ “concerns” letter, and (2) the expectation that one of the two names would… Read more »

Michael
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Michael

I belong to one of the anglo catholic parishes in the diocese of Sheffield under the episcopal oversight of Glyn of Beverley. Inevitably we have experienced great hurt and disappointment by recent events and have been shocked by the ghastliness of the vitriol directed at Bishop Philip. However we must seek to work positively and constructively with our new bishop and pray that he wishes to engage in the same manner with us. Perhaps he should seek to meet, as Bishop Philip did with women clergy immediately after his announcement, with both Anglo-Catholic clergy in the form of the Hickleton… Read more »

DBD
Guest

Show us *evidence* of this vitriol, Michael. Theological/ecclesiological counter-arguments are not vitriol and expressing disagreement is not hounding. Enough of this nonsense.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“a woman can only be considered for appointment as a diocesan bishop as and when a vacancy arises” True, but women are going to be highly suspicious of a process which resulted in the selection of a man who wouldn’t ordain women – it suggests that the CNC doesn’t highly value the ministry of women. That is then reinforced by the second candidate also being male. Is it proof of discrimination? Absolutely not. Will it make women reluctant to work with Peter Wilcox? Again, no. But does it reduce the confidence women have in the CNC process – quite probably.

Simon W
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Simon W

The son of a former principal of Cuddesdon who also became a bishop. Schooled for five years in the Anglo Catholic faith of the Woodard Corporation’s Worksop College.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Gordon Brown is a Scottish Presbyterian son of the Manse. Theresa May is an English Anglican daughter of the Vicarage. Perhaps, considering the hash the CNC has made of Sheffield, it is time to reinstate two names being given to the Prime Minister for her or him to choose from?
Or better still, when Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister the CNC hadn’t been invented and the Premier, after soundings chose who would be ABC. Mercifully, that system gave us Ramsey rather than Coggan, despite pressure being applied by Fisher to choose otherwise.

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

First time around (traditionalist Anglo Catholic) those with the loudest voices deemed the Holy Spirit had got it wrong. Second time, (Evangelical) the Holy Spirit gets it right and it’s trebles all-round. It’s a telling snapshot of where the Church of England is at.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

Kate – both candidates were male because Sheffield had said they weren’t ready for a female diocesan bishop yet. The CNC are exonerated on that point. But hopefully Pete Wilcox will appoint a woman suffragan, and next time Sheffield might well be ready for a female diocesan.

Father David, why is it ‘merciful’ that Ramsey became ABC rather than Coggan? Coggan was a very good ABC when his turn came. And an excellent preacher – I can still remember a sermon I heard him preach in 1987!

Michael
Guest
Michael

Of course it was entirely appropriate for those who were opposed to Bishop Philip’s nomination to make reasoned theological and ecclesiological counter arguments, DBD.That wasn’t my issue. I was referring to some of the darker stuff on social media which certainly exists but is quite unquantifiable. One thing that has caused widespread offence (and I speak as one who lives and worships in the diocese of Sheffield) was the festooning of the statue of the “Women of Steel” with faux-episcopal garments and the continued use of that image by the local media.Inevitably it was on “Look North” (BBC) last night… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“He is totally committed to social justice and human flourishing” – (The ABC of the newly appointed Bishop of Sheffield).

This sounds exactly what the people of Sheffield needed – rather then a bishop who would merely have ‘tolerated’ his women clergy.

May one hope that the Diocese of Llandaff (CiW) will be prepared to make a similar turnaround; abandoningtheir biased resistance against the appointment of the eminent Dean of St. Albans for a decision more affirming of ‘social justice and human flourishing’

Kate
Guest
Kate

“Kate – both candidates were male because Sheffield had said they weren’t ready for a female diocesan bishop yet.”

Janet, thank you for the clarification. Maybe the CNC read that as” We are a traditional diocese” and, in a 2+2=5 way, picked Philip North?

It is terribly wrong for the diocese to say no to a woman bishop though. That undermines women dreadfully.

Father David
Guest
Father David

It was “merciful” because Ramsey was without a shadow of doubt the greatest Archbishop of Canterbury of the 20th century. Had the younger Coggan been appointed instead of the Blessed Michael then we would have missed out on Ramsey’s great Archiepiscopate and we would all have been the poorer for that.
I can also still remember a sermon that Coggan preached in Lincoln cathedral in the 1970s. It went something like this – “I tell them what I am going to tell them, then I tell them, then I tell them what I told them!” “TIN, TIN, TIN”!

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

Pursuing the Ramsey/Coggan tangent for a moment: I have warm memories of +Donald Coggan who confirmed me when he was Bishop of Bradford, and I met him when I was taking tentative steps towards ordination. He was a generous, pastoral and deeply spiritual and biblical evangelical. But he did become ABC eventually. If he had been appointed instead of Ramsey we would have been deprived of the leadership of one of the great saints of Anglicanism and a top-rank theologian who unlike many of that ilk saw theology as inseparable from prayer and the life of the church.

Reverend John E Harris-White
Guest
Reverend John E Harris-White

Am I being too cynical, but my first reaction was the powerful hand in this of the CEO Canterbury. Both with common links to Durham and Liverpool.

Fr John Emlyn

Turbulent priest
Guest
Turbulent priest

Janet Fife states that the diocese said that “they weren’t ready for a female diocesan yet”. Why are they allowed to say that? Substitute “black” for “female” and you see why this sort of sexism makes the Church of England a toxic brand.

There is provision made for those who don’t accept the sacramental ministry of women. But what Janet Fife reports is unacceptable prejudice.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

I appreciate both Michael Ramsey and Donald Coggan, and I really don’t see why it’s necessary to denigrate one in order to build up the other. We all have bad sermon days, and I hope to God that no perfectionist is going to dismiss my ministry because of one of them. I have some excellent books on preaching on my shelves, but the one I love the most and return to again and again also happens to be the shortest – Donald Coggan’s ‘Stewards of Grace’, written in 1958 when he was Bishop of Bradford. I recommend it to any… Read more »

Tony Phelan
Guest
Tony Phelan

I’m sure he is a fine prospect. Can someone explain what bible teaching is – it’s the bishop designate’s passion according to the diocesan announcement. What on earth is it?

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Tony, I think you will find ‘Bible teaching’ well described in a series of three posts on Scott Gunn’s blog, starting here: https://www.sevenwholedays.org/2017/04/02/scripture-engagement-1/

Father David
Guest
Father David

In my lifetime, it is an incontrovertible statement that the ABCs from the Catholic wing of the Church have outshone those from the Evangelical wing. The comparison between Ramsey, Rowan and Runcie with Coggan and Carey is plain for all to see. Alas with recent developments within the Church it would seem that we might never again see a Catholic sit upon Augustine’s throne. Up until now a Catholic Archbishop has been succeeded by an Evangelical Archbishop who, in turn has been replaced by another Catholic Archbishop and so it went on – giving a good balance to the leadership… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

‘Janet Fife states that the diocese said that “they weren’t ready for a female diocesan yet”. Why are they allowed to say that? Substitute “black” for “female” and you see why this sort of sexism makes the Church of England a toxic brand. There is provision made for those who don’t accept the sacramental ministry of women. But what Janet Fife reports is unacceptable prejudice.’ As you say, I was reporting not defending. The women were being generous in not wanting to impose on the so-called ‘traditional’ parishes a bishop whom they couldn’t accept. Hence their utter dismay when a… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

‘In my lifetime, it is an incontrovertible statement that the ABCs from the Catholic wing of the Church have outshone those from the Evangelical wing.’ Father David, that’s not incontrovertible at all and I would controvert it. It depends what you’re looking for in an archbishop. No human being (not even a woman!) can do all the things required of an archbishop, any more than of a parish priest. No human being can be good at everything. So the evaluation of an ABC depends largely on how you value the things they weren’t so good at, as opposed to the… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Father David, I really don’t see why we’re comparing. And while we’re at it, could we Christians please stop talking about ‘ascending Augustine’s throne’? How does that sort of imagery fit in with Jesus’ call to servanthood? It’s not about thrones and it’s not about who’s better than who.

Turbulent priest
Guest
Turbulent priest

I chose my words carefully. Janet Fife was indeed simply reporting. I never thought otherwise and I hope others won’t either.

Father David
Guest
Father David

“He was good at reaching out to, and communicating with people who don’t come from middle class and public school backgrounds”
I don’t recall the “Decade of Evangelism”, on Carey’s watch, being an outstanding success as throughout those ten years the Established Church continued to decline. Nor do I remember Coggan’s “Call to the Nation” being much of a triumph either.

David Runcorn
Guest

Father David On these threads you always champion the Catholic tradition you plainly love – and Catholic bishops and Archbishops most of all. But it means that when you criticise evangelical ABC’s I am sitting here thinking – well he would wouldn’t he. So I will pass on this the one.

There is a strand of responses to evangelicals on TA threads that reminds me of the late Harry Williams’ confession that he always needed several large sherries before he could cope when an evangelical was in the vicinity.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

If you can lay your hands on it, I would highly recommend Margaret Pawley’s biography ‘Donald Coggan: Servant of Christ’ (SPCK, 1987).

Father David
Guest
Father David

Tim,I’m sure that we are all united in worshipping “the Lamb upon the throne” and following the Lord’s good example we all – Catholic and Evangelical alike engage in a Servant Ministry but this does not necessitate that we dumb everything down – especially when it comes to the Liturgy – the greatest drama of them all. I’m sure that we are all offering the very best that we can, particularly during this Holy Week. In order to make people think I controversially placed a picture of Zurbaran’s great painting the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei c 1636/40)on the front… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Father David, if you can demonstrate to me how ‘enthroning’ a bishop is consistent with the values of the servant King, I’ll be prepared to accept it as a legitimate gospel act and not what I strongly believe it to be, an unhelpful relic of Christendom.

Meanwhile, I’m off to spend Holy Week dumbing down the gospel and killing off the Christian faith, as we evangelicals always do…

Father David
Guest
Father David

Tim, I wonder what you made of that little ceremony that took place in Westminster Abbey on that rainy day in early June 1953 AD. A bit OTT, if you ask me!
Have a wonderful spiritually uplifting Holy Week and may an old Spike like me wish you every blessing for Easter – the Queen of Festivals and the Day of Resurrection.

Steve Morgan
Guest
Steve Morgan

Re: recent archbishops: I’m too young to remember anything about Coggan and Ramsey. Runcie wrote of, and seemed to embody for me Christian faith as a balance of reason, tradition and scripture; (and he was a tank commander.) Since then Carey – who always came across as a rather absent-minded schoolmaster, as played by Alistair Sim, but without the wit – and his disastrous Decade of Evangelism; Williams (why do you all keep calling him “Rowan?”) who began his tenure by stabbing one of his best friends in the back, and ended it by presiding over the vote not to… Read more »

John Roch
Guest
John Roch

Looks as though Sheffield will need to consider a change of address for the new Bishop, as we no longer have Bishop S Croft living at Bishopscroft.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Father David: ‘OTT’???

Sorry, I obviously don’t speak your dialect.

And as for the coronation, sorry, but it’s all too Constantinian for this guy. I’m grateful not to be ministering in an ‘Established’ church.

[editors’ note: OTT = “over the top”]

Father David
Guest
Father David

Dear Tim, But I always thought that Evangelicals found the Established Church the best boat in which to fish from?

Tim Chesterton
Guest

I’m a Canadian, Father David; I’ve never ministered in an Established Church.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Well, come on in, Tim, the water’s lovely!

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Well, Tim, it might help if you do admit that you were actually born and raised in the same village as me – Walsgrave-sur-Sowa (Domesday Book ref.) just 3 miles from Coventry Cathedral, before you – like me – sought greener pastures in which to answer your call from God. You ended up in Canada, I ended up in New Zealand, eventually. We each were ordained into the tradition we inherited – you with the Evangelicals and me with the ‘Spikes’. This explains why you and I are sometimes differently opinionated when commenting on threads on T.A. But, both working… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Ron: I was actually born in inner-city Leicester, which is quite a bit further from Coventry, but I didn’t ‘seek’ greener pastures – I was brought to Canada as a 17 year old by my parents. I have now lived in Canada for 41 years and don’t carry a British passport. I knew nothing about different ecclesiastical traditions when I lived in England. All my ministry experience has been in the Anglican Church of Canada (commissioned as a Church Army evangelist in 1978, ordained deacon in 1990 and priest in 1992). Hence, when I said I’d never ministered in an… Read more »