THE Bishop of Oxford is to take a three-month sabbatical.

The Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft, who leads the Oxford Diocese, will start his study leave in January.

While he is away the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, the Bishop of Dorchester, will become acting Bishop of Oxford.

It will be the fifth time in his career that the Rt Rev Fletcher has been Acting Bishop.

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Rt Rev Fletcher has announced that he is to retire in October 2020 after completing 20 years in his role.

Rt Rev Croft said on Facebook: “I’m very glad of the opportunity of a sabbatical from January to March 2020.

“I was about to take a sabbatical term after seven years in Sheffield in autumn 2016 but was then invited to move to Oxford.

“Three years later, it seems right to pick up those plans again.

“My last period of study leave was in 2004.

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“I continue to be very energised by much of what I do, but it seems right at this mid-point in episcopal ministry to take some space and time to reflect.

Oxford Mail:

“Bishop Colin has very kindly agreed to take up the role of Acting Bishop for three months, and I am very grateful to him and the rest of the team.

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“I will be based in Oxford for most of the three months, reading, thinking and possibly writing and living at a more gentle pace and will include a time of retreat and holiday.”

The Bishop of Oxford added he would be continuing some of his Parliamentary and Data Ethics work during the sabbatical and a small number of other engagements before returning for Holy Week and Easter.