By Ven Martin Gorick, Archdeacon of Oxford


No Bishop of Oxford. How are you going to manage?”

It’s a question I’m often asked these days.

The Crown Nominations Commission appoints bishops in the Church of England.

It’s a large body including the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, a representative of the Prime Minister, of the diocese in question and of the national church through its General Synod.

When it met earlier in May no appointment was made and we have been told that we will have to wait until March 2016 before Oxford will be considered again.

It’s unlikely that we will have a Bishop of Oxford in post now until at least September 2016, which will be two years since Bishop John retired.

We miss that leadership and the friendship of a trusted senior colleague. There are many more things for me to cover and your prayers will be much appreciated, for me and especially for Bishop Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester and now acting Bishop of Oxford, during the extended vacancy.

We are fortunate to have his leadership and experience to guide us at this time.

Of course the church will continue to worship God, and serve its community during this time. The centre of the church is in its local parish churches, and the ministry and service in the local community carried out by church members and parish clergy. That will not change.

I will work with the area deans of Cowley and Oxford as we support our local churches in all they do for the people of this city and surrounding area.

I also lead our support for chaplains in universities, schools, hospitals, prisons and military bases across the diocese, and that work supporting their front line ministry will carry on.

Oxford Diocese stretches far beyond the city of course, covering the three counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. Fortunately each has an area bishop to continue to lead mission and ministry area while we continue to wait for a new Diocesan Bishop.

Waiting can be frustrating. Schoolchildren and students will soon be waiting anxiously for their exam results. I grew up supporting Notts County and I know I’ll be waiting an awful long time before they win the FA Cup.

Perhaps we’ll even have a new Bishop of Oxford before then!