Next Bishop of Lancaster unveiled

The new Anglican Bishop of Lancaster is Rev. Dr Jill Duff, the church has announced.
Rev. Dr Jill DuffRev. Dr Jill Duff
Rev. Dr Jill Duff

The 45-year-old, the first female appointed to the role, was unveiled on Tuesday.

Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, made the appointment following consultation with a representative group from the Diocese.

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Jill succeeds Rt Rev. Geoff Pearson, who retired last July. The date of her consecration at York Minster is June 29.

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"This is a vibrant and exciting part of the Church of England with its Vision 2026: Healthy Churches Transforming Communities.

"Being born and brought up in Lancashire, the region has been on my heart in prayer for many years.

“Time and again I have seen how, with prayer and perseverance, churches can grow and it will be good to be part of a courageous Diocese that is looking to the future with real hope."

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The Bishop-designate is married to Rev. Prof. Jeremy Duff, who is Principal of the St Padarn’s Institute in the Church in Wales, and they have two sons, Robbie, aged 13 and Harry, aged 10.

She was introduced by Bishop Julian at Marsh Community Centre, Lancaster, on Tuesday morning, alongside the Suffragan Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev. Philip North.

Introducing Jill to the Diocese as the future Anglican Bishop of Lancaster, Diocesan Bishop Rt Rev. Julian Henderson said: “Bishop Philip and I are delighted to welcome Jill as a new member of the episcopal team here in the Diocese.

“She comes to us with a wealth of experience; a passion for prayer and for spreading the Gospel. In Jill we have a new Bishop who will make a significant contribution to the life of the Church of England in Lancashire and we look forward to her consecration in York in June.

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Bishop Julian added: “I want to make it clear that I see Jill’s appointment as another sign that the Anglican Church in Lancashire is modelling the principles of ‘mutual flourishing’ in the Church of England.

“I will soon have a female episcopal colleague alongside another from the traditionalist catholic constituency who will both serve the whole Diocese and will have my wholehearted support in carrying out their important work.

“Please remember Jill and her family in your prayers as she prepares for this important new role.”

Echoing Bishop Julian’s words, Rt Rev. Philip North added: “The commitment to mutual flourishing enshrined in the five guiding principles makes possible the kind of fruitful working relationship that I am looking forward to having with Jill in her new role. I am convinced that she will support and encourage Anglicans in Lancashire of all traditions.

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“Jill and I have worked together on the development of the Leadership Hub at St James and we co-hosted a seminar in Preston just two weeks ago for clergy from the most deprived parishes in Lancashire.

Bishop Philip concluded: “Her insight and clear-sightedness about the ways we can be reaching out to people in deprived urban settings was tangible and the 40 or so clergy who attended were enthused by her encouraging and supportive words.”

The Archbishop of York, The Most Rev. and Rt Hon. John Sentamu, has added his voice to those welcoming the new Bishop-designate of Lancaster saying: “I am delighted that Jill will be joining the Episcopal Team in the Diocese of Blackburn. As Bishop of Lancaster she will bring her gifts as a Theological Educator to refresh theological wisdom in the Diocese.

“We are all rejoicing at her nomination and praying for her to flourish in her calling as Bishop in the Church of God.

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“Our prayers too are with the family as they adjust to her new role as Bishop. Her Ordination as Bishop in the Church of God, in York Minster in June, will be a celebration for us all. Praise the Lord!”