THE NEW Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham is to be the Rt
Revd Paul Williams, at present Area Bishop of Kensington, Downing
Street announced on Tuesday.
Bishop Williams, aged 47, grew up in Somerset, studied at Durham
University and Wycliffe Hall, and served his first curacy at St
James's, Muswell Hill, north London. He was Associate Vicar at
Christ Church, Bristol, and from 1992 to 2009, Rector of St
James's, Gerrards Cross.
His late mother, Heather Williams, was among the first women to
be ordained in 1994, and would have rejoiced at a woman becoming
bishop, he told a press conference at Nottingham Emmanuel School, a
C of E Academy, saying that he had been "overjoyed" to have laid
hands on Bishop Libby Lane at her consecration.
A bishop very much in the Justin Welby mould, he displayed
Evangelical fervour wedded to a strong social conscience. He
described Nottingham as a "cradle of innovation", and the city and
county as having made a substantial contribution to the nation's
heritage and economy.
"I know it's building a bright future with a new generation in
its sights," he said. "It deserves a Church that is playing its
full part in helping to shape that future, which includes
addressing the real-life challenges that individuals and
communities face across the region."
He alluded to some of these, not least in the former mining
communities that are having to rethink "after the heart of their
industry had been torn away".
He spoke, too, of church growth, and of his passion to raise the
aspirations of all children and young people, especially those from
The Bishop and his wife, Sarah, have been foster parents in the
borough of Kensington for several years, and have three sons, aged
16, 14, and 12.
Asked from which wing of the Church he came, he said: "I've been
six years in London, where we have every wing - even wings that the
Church of England didn't know existed. . . My faith has been shaped
by all the traditions, but, while I have been nourished by the
Evangelical tradition, I wear no labels."
Questioned by students about the proliferation of foodbanks, he
described food poverty as a significant issue and said: "I am
hoping to hear politicians address the systemic causes of that. The
Church needs to ask difficult questions of politicians. In the
divide between rich and poor, let's speak up for justice."
Two of the school students came out and prayed unscripted for
the new Bishop, and he was visibly moved. He and his family will
arrive in the diocese in the summer.