‘An exciting person, coming to an exciting team, at an exciting time’
‘Surfing’ into her new role on the prayers of many, The Church of England in Lancashire now has a new Bishop of Lancaster.
The new Bishop is the Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff who, until recently, was the founding Director of St Mellitus College, North West.
The eighth Anglican Bishop of Lancaster was consecrated at York Minster on Friday.
A service steeped in history, it was led by The Archbishop of York, The Most Rev. and Rt Hon. Dr John Sentamu who was assisted by more than 40 Bishops from across The Church of England.
Also in attendance was the Archbishop of Wales, The Most Rev. John Davies, as well as contingents of people representing various stages of Jill’s life and career so far.
The Consecration will be followed next week on July 3 by Jill’s official welcome into the Diocese, with her Installation Service at Blackburn Cathedral which begins at 7.30pm. All are welcome.
The Bishop-designate grew up in Bolton, is married to Rev. Prof. Jeremy Duff, who is Principal of the St Padarn’s Institute in the Church in Wales and they have two sons – Robbie, aged 13 and Harry, who is aged 10.
Many clergy and parishioners from across the County travelled to York for the service at the Minster.
The Lancashire contingent was led by Jill’s new episcopal colleagues from Blackburn Diocese, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn and Rt Rev. Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley and it also included a group of new Deacons and Priests from the Diocese who are due to be ordained this weekend.
They had taken time out from their pre-ordination retreat at Whalley Abbey in the Ribble Valley to experience the special occasion.
There were a number of very personal touches in the service, including a reading from the Prophecy of Ezekiel by Jill’s sons. Meanwhile the sermon – centred on calling people out to serve God – was delivered by her friend Rev. Canon Kate Wharton, who is Vicar of St Bartholomew, Roby, in Liverpool Diocese and Assistant National Leader for New Wine. Kate is also Godmother to Jill’s eldest son.
Rev. Kate Wharton said: “Jill have I have known each other a long time. When she first asked me to speak it was a terrifying prospect but it was fine once I was in the pulpit!
“My sermon focussed on calling people out to serve God. That is very important to Jill and I wanted a preach a sermon that would be specifically for her but would also speak to the whole congregation at the same time.”
Speaking after the service Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, the new Bishop of Lancaster, said: “I have been surfing on the prayers of so many people to get to this special moment.
“Today was a wonderful spirit-filled occasion and it was huge honour to be part of a consecration service which centred around calling down the Holy Spirit for the office and work of a bishop in the Church of God.
“I would like to thank my family and friends for their support and everyone who has prayed me into this new role of Bishop of Lancaster.”
Bishop Julian, the Diocesan Bishop for The Church of England in Lancashire, welcomed his new colleague saying: “It has been a wonderful service today that embodied everything being ordained for ministry in the Church of England is all about.
“We thank Jill for answering God’s call to be Bishop of Lancaster. She is an exciting person coming to an exciting team at an exciting time and we look forward to all that God has in store.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Philip, the new Bishop’s fellow Suffragan in the Diocese added: “This has been the most fantastic day for Jill, her family, her friends and for everyone in our Diocese.
“I am hugely looking forward to working with Jill as an episcopal colleague. We already know each other well. I know that she will make an outstanding contribution to the life of the parishes across Lancashire.
“With our Vision 2026 Healthy Churches Transforming Communities firmly rooted in everything we do as a Diocese, Bishop Jill will now bring fresh impetus to our Vision work.”
Pictured above: The new Bishop is the Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff