Grantham bishop climbs to Derby
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
THE NEXT Bishop of Derby is to be Dr Alastair Redfern, at present the
Suffragan Bishop of Grantham, Downing Street announced on Monday. Dr Redfern
will succeed the Rt Revd Jonathan Bailey, who retires in May.
Dr Redfern, who is 56, said this week that the two dioceses, despite being
part of the same region, could not be more dramatically different.
"In my part of Lincoln there are the flat fenlands, with not a lot of urban
buzz. Derby itself is a city with new industry and an ethnic-minority
population of 12 per cent - and, of course, it is surrounded by the Peak
Nevertheless, there was considerable rural poverty in the old mining areas,
where much work was being done on regeneration.
He was aware that churchgoers across Derby were unsettled by a radical
rethink of clergy deployment announced last year (News, 26 March 2004).
"We have got to make these shifts: that is the world we are operating in. But I
am a tremendous advocate of the parish system: that is the strength of the
He spent Monday touring the diocese. No one asked him about the Windsor
report and his views on homosexuality, he said. "We have had the report and the
meeting at Newry, and we remain in conversation. Where we differ from the world
is that we believe it is important to have prayer and reflection on issues, and
wrestle with them."
Dr Redfern is widowed and has two grown-up children. He trained for
the ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge, and Queen's College, Birmingham.
After serving his title in Lichfield, he became a lecturer and then
vice-principal at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, before becoming a residentiary
canon at Bristol Cathedral, where he was also diocesan director of training. He
has been Bishop of Grantham since 1997, and Dean of Stamford since 1998.
He describes his football support as catholic - his father-in-law was a keen
Derby County supporter, he says, but he is also aware there are other teams in