A month ago, the Rt Revd Phillip North withdrew his name from consideration as the next Bishop of Sheffield. Soon after the announcement in January that he had been appointed to that See by the Crown Nominations Commission and approved by the Queen, a campaign began pointing out how Bishop North was not fit for purpose to be a bishop diocesan. It boiled down to the fact that he doesn’t believe that women are priests & bishops in the Church of England (CoE). He became unhappy with what was being said about him and chose to remain in his current appointment as the Bishop of Burnley, a bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Blackburn.
Due to the speed of the appointment after Bishop North’s withdrawal, the newly announced appointee is speculated to be the Crown Nominations Commission’s 2nd choice for Sheffield. The appointment has gone to the Very Revd Dr Pete Wilcox, the current Dean of Liverpool. Bishop North was a Traditionalist in the Co E, whereas Dean Wilcox is an Evangelical. The Dean has also been an avid supporter of women’s ordination, to the priesthood and the episcopate.
Dean Wilcox, dean at Liverpool since 2012, brings a breadth of experiences to the See of Sheffield;
The Very Revd Dr Pete Wilcox has been ordained for over 25 years. He trained at Ridley Hall in Cambridge after completing a degree in modern history at Durham University. After serving as a curate on Teesside, he studied for a doctorate at Oxford University. In 1993, he returned to the Durham Diocese to serve as a team vicar in the Parish of Gateshead, while assisting in the training of ordinands at Cranmer Hall as Director of its Urban Mission Centre.
In 1998 he took up a new position as priest in charge of St Paul’s Church at the Crossing in Walsall. Between August 2006 and July 2012 he was Canon Chancellor at Lichfield Cathedral, a post which involved oversight of the Cathedral’s work in education and outreach.
– Diocese of Sheffield announcement
Dean Wilcox has stated that he is happy to have been given the appointment, “Although the journey has been unconventional, to say the least, I feel called by God to this role, and am therefore thrilled to be coming to the diocese of Sheffield.” He is married to the novelist, Catherine Fox and together they have two adult sons, Jon & Tom.
The photo is from the Litchfield Gazette.