Diocese of Oxford
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New Bishop of Oxford finally announced

Tue 12 Apr 2016
By Marcus Jones

The Diocese of Oxford finally has a bishop, after over 18 months of waiting.

The Queen has approved the nomination of Rt Revd Steven Croft, who'll move from his current position as Bishop of Sheffield.

Bishop Steven has served in the role for seven years after leading churches in both London and Yorkshire.

Bishop Steven

- 58 years old
- Trained at Cranmer Hall
- Married to Ann
- Keen baker

Speaking about the move, he said: "I am looking forward enormously to a new challenge and new responsibility in the Diocese of Oxford and to working with the senior team and many others to serve the local communities and to build up the life of the Church.

"There are many signs of God's grace at work across the Diocese and immense potential for the future. I would ask for the prayers of the Diocese in the coming weeks and months for all that lies ahead."

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu has thanked Bishop Steven for his work in Sheffield.

He said: "Bishop Steven Croft's visionary and strategic leadership in mission has enabled the Diocese of Sheffield to take great strides forward during his time as Diocesan Bishop.

"I am particularly thankful to Bishop Steven for hosting the Northern Bishops Mission in Sheffield Diocese last year - setting a pattern for missions across the north in coming years.

"Whilst I am very sorry to lose him from the Province of York, I know he will take to Oxford a passion for making and nurturing disciples, a persistence in study, exploration and learning, as well as the personal warmth of a fine pastor."

The Diocese, which serves Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire has a population of 2.3 million people with more than 800 churches and almost 600 parochial clergy.

The position of bishop has proved difficult to fill. In May last year, no candidate received the required number of votes for nomination.

Speaking at the time, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issued a statement explaining the situation. He said: "I am writing to advise that the Commission has been unable to discern the candidate whom God is calling at this stage to be the next Bishop of Oxford. Under the election rules under which we operate, no candidate received the required number of votes for nomination.

"The Crown Nominations Commission already has a number of meetings in place for the rest of this year. The Oxford CNC will reconvene on the 4th February 2016 with the second meeting on the 7th/8th March 2016. Bishop Colin will continue to provide oversight to the diocese as he has done over the past few months during the interregnum and I am very grateful to him for this."

It's expected Bishop Steven will take up office in the early autumn.

He told Premier's News Hour: "I'm really excited to come to the diocese of Oxford.

"It's an enormous diocese with huge amounts going on that's good and enormous potential for the future so I'm very much looking forward to what lies ahead."

Listen to Premier's Aaron James speak to the new Bishop of Oxford here:

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