THE next Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, said on
the day his nomination was announced that he was looking forward to
serving in a diocese "at the front of the Church", which "ran
fastest" with the idea of a mixed-economy Church.
Bishop Bayes, who is the Bishop of Hertford, in St Albans
diocese, was the National Mission and Evangelism Adviser for the
Archbishops' Council for six years. His new appointment was one of
six announced in the past week: two diocesans, and four
On Tuesday, he said: "Ten years ago, we published
Mission-shaped Church in the Church of England, talking
about the mixed economy of inherited churches, and fresh
expressions of church. And we put that out to the 43 dioceses. . .
Of the ones that ran with it, Liverpool ran fastest. So,
Liverpool's at the front of the Church in the things that I think
are really important."
Speaking on Wednesday, he said: "I want to see vibrant and
confident churches that are growing in strength and numbers."
Bishop Bayes, who is from Bradford, reflected on moving from the
south-east to the north-west. About 45 per cent of parishes in
Liverpool are in the ten per cent most deprived in the country.
"Hertfordshire is quite mixed, and some towns have pockets of
real poverty," he said. "But the risk is that we become two
nations, and the real risk for the Church is that we become two
Churches. If we are one big Church, then deployment of clergy
moving between north and south should be normal to us."
He had chosen to start his tour of Liverpool diocese on
Wednesday, at a foodbank at St Andrew's, Clubmoor. "It's just a
fact that . . . the need for emergency food-support is enormous. .
. The structures of our society and the way things have played out
since 2008 has made a country where this is happening, and that is
wrong, never mind who is in power; so the Church needs to say: 'We
will help people in need.'"
He was "wholeheartedly in favour" of the facilitated
conversations on sexuality planned in the Church of England.
Last year, his predecessor, the Rt Revd James Jones, said: "If
the Church now recognises civil partnerships to be a just response
to the needs of gay people, then surely the Church now has to ask
the question whether or not it can deny the blessing of God to that
which is just."
Bishop Bayes said that he supported the House of Bishops'
pastoral statement on same-sex relationships (
News, 14 February), including its omission of an authorised
liturgy for the blessing of these relationships. He said, however,
that the clergy could find "lots of ways in which they can make
people feel welcome, without feeling that they have to break the
laws of the Church".
Bishop Bayes was ordained in 1979, and served as a curate in
Whitley Bay, Tyneside, before moving to London as a university
chaplain. He has served as national co-chair of Christian CND, and
he his wife, Kate, were involved in the Ecology Party, a precursor
of the Green Party. They have three children.
He was a parish priest in the dioceses of Oxford and Winchester
before taking up his post with the Archbishops' Council.
Reflecting on the Prime Minister's recent comments about the
nature of Britain as a predominantly Christian country (Comment, 17 April),
he said: "Anyone who thinks that the Christian faith has had no
impact on England simply is not looking".
He continued, however: "The Christian Church has had to accept
that we don't have, as of right, a central, top-down place any
more, and I think that is good. I think a humbler Church is closer
to a humbler Christ.
"We have all kinds of terrific advantages - wonderful buildings,
and a place in the House of Lords - but those are not designed to
bolster up Christian privilege, but to serve the whole of
RC celebration. The new RC Archbishop of
Liverpool, the Most Revd Malcolm McMahon OP, was enthroned at a
solemn mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral on 1 May. Guests included
the Bishop of Warrington, the Rt Revd Richard Blackburne, who
represented the Liverpool Anglican diocese.
Four new suffragans
THE next Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe will be Canon Robert
Innes, currently Senior Chaplain and Chancellor of Holy Trinity
Pro-Cathedral, Brussels, it was announced on Tuesday.
Canon Innes, who will be the first of the diocese's bishops to
live on the Continent, outlined his vision for a diocese where
"people of all backgrounds and cultures are accepted, valued".
At Holy Trinity, Brussels, about a third of the congregation is
African. "Europe is seeing a lot of migration from the Global South
as people come in search of a better life. . . We want to offer
them a warm welcome," Canon Innes said.
Last year, the Priest-in-Charge of the Resurrection in Istanbul,
the Revd Engin Yildirim, spoke of the influx of Syrian refugees to
News, 6 September). On Tuesday, Canon Innes described the
difference that the Church could make: "We had a large immigration
of Rwandans in the 1990s, fleeing the genocide.
"Our Church, along with others, offered hospitality and welcome
to them, and we have seen and witnessed a remarkable transformation
in that community within the stage of one generation.
"Those who came over as refugees fleeing for their lives have
children now running accountancy businesses. . . They have shown
remarkable determination and resilience. The Church can provide a
spiritual home for these people."
Canon Innes said that he was a "great supporter" of women's
ministry, but that "our particular diocese has ecumencial links,
and works in areas where we have to operate with some sensitivity.
. . We areat the sharp end of relationships with parts of the
Church for whom women bishops cause more difficulty."
Last year, Canon Innes's predecessor, Dr Geoffrey Rowell,
expressed disappointment after the Church Commissioners declined to
allocate funding to replace the diocese's seven part-time
archdeacons with four full-time ones (News, 11 October).
On Tuesday, Canon Innes said that he was "very concerned" for
the archdeacons: "I want to . . . find ways in which I can ease
their burden in the short-term, whilst then thinking together as a
diocese and with the commissioners about the longer- term
Before his ordination in 1996, Canon Innes worked for Arthur
Anderson, an accountancy firm. He lectured at St John's College,
Durham, and served as a parish priest in the diocese of Durham. He
and his wife, Helen, have three daughters and a son.
The diocese of Gibraltar in Europe is the largest diocese of the
Church of England. Services are held at more than 270 places,
served by 150 clergy, and more than 90 readers.
Canon Innes will be consecrated in Canterbury Cathedral on 20
July, and will be enthroned in September.