New Bishop for the Diocese of Bradford
A ‘Blogging bishop’ who is a University of Bradford graduate has been announced today as the next Bishop of Bradford.
Nick Baines is renowned for his media expertise – he is an experienced broadcaster and writer and he blogs and tweets almost daily. He has been Bishop of Croydon (an area bishop in the Diocese of Southwark) since May 2003. He makes use of his experience working with other faith leaders in London following the 9/11 attacks in representing the Archbishop of Canterbury at various international interfaith initiatives.
His appointment comes the week after a Church of England report that proposes the reconfiguration of the three West Yorkshire Dioceses (Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield) in order to create one new large diocese. (see Notes to Editors)
A Liverpudlian by birth, Nick Baines gained a degree in French and German from Bradford University in 1980. He says, “Bradford is a place I came to love when I studied Modern Languages at the university thirty years ago. I look forward very much to working with and serving the churches and communities of this culturally diverse diocese in the years ahead.”
Bishop Nick will be introduced this morning to the diocese and city at the National Media Museum, where he’ll meet civic and faith leaders and members of the diocese. He’ll then travel by train to Skipton to meet civic dignitaries, farmers, children and clergy.
One of his main priorities is how the Church communicates its message. He says, “I’m passionate about Christian engagement in the big wide world – not on our own terms, but on the basis that we get stuck in wherever we can; committed to the world in all its pain and glory. And it’s something about which I think we need to be a bit bolder – and thicker skinned.”
He has a keen interest in music, literature, art, film, theatre and football.
Nick is married to Linda (a health visitor and artist) and they have three adult children: Richard, Melanie and Andrew, and one grandchild.
It is hoped that he will begin his ministry in the spring.
(from the web-site of ‘Thinking Anglicans UK)
Earlier this month he appeared on Channel 4, in which he challenged the notion that Christians are ‘persecuted’ in the UK. He said: “(Let’s not) see ourselves as victims, but recognise the amazing freedom we have in (and massive contribution we make to) British society both locally and nationally… and get out there more confidently with the unique gift of Christian faith, service and apologetics.”
This quote bears witness to the fact that Nick Baines (who has his own web-site under the title ‘Musings of a Restless Bishop) does not agree with a recent initiative by former ABC, Bishop George Carey, who has caused something of a furore in the U.K. by contending that Christians there are ‘persecuted’! This scary tactic certainly does not help to endear the Church in it’s redemptive mission to the general public in Britain, so it is good to see the next Bishop of Bradford is willing to ‘take on’ the likes of ‘Scary Carey’ who seems bent on isolating the Church from the community.
Bishop Nick is not afraid of the world – he is in it, up to his neck – and is willing to ‘step into the midst of it proclaiming God’s Love’ – surely a worthy activity for a Bishop of the Church today.
Fr. Ron Smith
n.b. Bishop Nick Baines has written six books* and his writing and broadcasting style is (according to reviewers) “warm, witty, provocative, insightful and never preachy.” Of ‘Finding Faith’, his autobiographical book, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said, “Here is a book that manages to be lively and profound at the same time. It is honest, funny and challenging – one of those books that makes you remember why it’s worthwhile being a Christian”.