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Next Bishop of Manchester Announced

Bishop David Walker

Wednesday 5th June 2013

The Prime Minister has announced that the next Bishop of Manchester will be the Rt Rev David Walker. He is currently the Bishop of Dudley.

An experienced and highly regarded spiritual leader, Bishop David is passionate about issues which effect social housing, asylum seekers and the benefit cuts. In early 2013 he questioned both the content and presentation of government policy. Bishop David grew up in Greater Manchester and went to Manchester Grammar School.


Bishop David said; "I feel very honoured to have been asked to be the next Bishop of Manchester. I was born and grew up here and I'm delighted that I will now have the opportunity to give something back to the place that gave me my start in life. I am looking forward to working with the people and communities of what is one of the most richly diverse places in the world. I believe that the Christian faith and the Church of England have a great contribution to make to that richness and I am thrilled at being given a role that will allow me to be part of that.

"I ask the people of Manchester to hold me in their prayers as I prepare to take up my new role here."


A spokesperson for the Diocese of Manchester said; “Four candidates were interviewed for this post. During interviews, Bishop David emerged as the ideal choice to be the next Bishop of Manchester. Following prayer and reflection it was agreed to ask the Prime Minister to appoint Bishop David and we are delighted that he has agreed.” 



David Stuart Walker. was born on 30 May 1957 and educated at Manchester Grammar School and King's College, Cambridge. He took part in the International Mathematical Olympiad - the pinnacle of mathematical competition among high school students- in 1975.


After a period of study at Queen's College, Birmingham he was ordained in 1983. His career began with a curacy at St Mary Handsworth, after which he was Team Vicar at Maltby, then Bramley before becoming a bishop. He has been Bishop of Dudley since 2000. He is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Glyndwr University.


David is married to Sue and they have two children.


Bishop David’s interests


Bishop David has particular experience in Social Housing, having served on the Board of the National Housing Federation from 1996 to 2002.  He is a former Chair of South Yorkshire Housing Association and of Safe Haven (a non-profit asylum seeker accommodation service provider).


He currently chairs a small Special Needs Housing Association in Dudley which works particularly with faith based groups.  He served on the Housing Management Policy Action Team set up by the Social Exclusion Unite, and wrote a regular column in Housing Today.  Until 20120 he was Chair of HACT (Housing Authorities Charitable Trust) which is one of the leading national charities, working with the voluntary sector to help housing providers better meet the needs of tenants. He was also chair of  CHADD (Churches Housing Association of Dudley and District) - Church based special needs housing associations.



Bishop David served on the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights panel for the College of Policing and until recently was on a similar body for the Homes and Communities Agency.


Bishop David recently questioned the way politicians were exaggerating the negative impact of immigration, which he said was "wholly disproportionate" to the real threat.



Bishop David was one of 43 bishops who signed a letter arguing that benefit cuts would have 'deeply disproportionate effect' on children.


How the bishop was chosen

Hundreds of people attended meeting to help identify the type of person the next Bishop of Manchester needed to be and to help explore what the task was for the next decade. From this process a Statement of Need was drawn up (see below). A shortlist of candidates was drawn up and four candidates were interviewed.


Statement of Need

As a diocese that is outward-facing, seeking to live out the gospel and grow the church whilst working in partnership with local communities at every level, we are looking for a Bishop who can demonstrate the following qualities:


1. A deep and confident personal faith

Our new bishop should be a person, clearly captivated by God, whose love of God and life of prayer will equip him to encourage, and engage in a meaningful way with the diversity of church traditions that make up the diocese. He will be theologically literate, confident in scripture and a good/strong teacher of the faith/apologist for the church.

  • Rooted in the gospel
  •  Prayerful
  •  Inclusive, theologically and spiritually
  •  Embrace the breadth of traditions within Anglican ecclesiology


2. A clear commitment to mission and growth

He will have demonstrable gifts in visionary and inspired leadership and be fully committed to working with the Five Marks of Mission. He will promote growth and stewardship in its various forms and build on existing initiatives as well as offering fresh insights.

  •  Able to develop and share a vision
  • Support and encourage vocations to all forms of ministry
  •  Promote growing churches
  • Affirm and develop the work of chaplaincies and schools


3. Experience of working across diverse social, economic, ecumenical and interfaith contexts

He will be able to embrace the many diverse elements that make up the diocese and have an awareness and understanding of the particular issues that pertain to the North. He will have at least some recent urban experience as well as an interest in suburban and rural contexts.

  •  Recent urban experience with an understanding of the particular issues in the North
  •  Pro-active in building strong partnerships with the two cities and nine local authorities
  •  Sensitively enthusiastic in working with other faith communities and ecumenical partners
  •  Stand against social deprivation, racism and injustice with a prophetic voice
  •  Support family life as well as establishing positive relationships with the LGBT community


4. An ability to lead and to manage change creatively

He will take the lead in managing necessary change at parish, deanery and diocesan level, recognising the need to work collaboratively and to delegate as part of that process. He will be bold and courageous in tackling difficult issues: ensuring financial sustainability, helping to steer through the necessary culture change in relation to the balance of lay and ordained ministries.

  •  Ability to think missionally and strategically and to drive change appropriately
  •  Substantial senior staff experience
  • Lead from the front when necessary
  •  Work hand in hand with Church House and the support structures
  •  Prepared to engage with financial matters and take an episcopal lead when necessary
  •  Enthusiastic in supporting the development of new models of being church


5. A confident and competent communicator

He will be comfortable and at ease engaging with a wide cross-section of people and be particularly able to connect with young people in churches, schools and HE/FE. He will be able to communicate in a compelling way with the un-churched as well as with members of churches and other faiths. He will have experience of working with the media and be a clear thinker with a warm and engaging delivery.

  •  Have an energetic and pioneering approach
  •  Politically astute
  •  Confident with the media and in public life
  •  Able to dialogue across difference and help interpret one to the other


6. A gifted pastor to clergy and laity

He will be a person of wisdom and integrity with an ability to listen and to get alongside both clergy and laity. He will encourage, motivate and empower others, building up their confidence and self-esteem and affirming them in their ministries. He will be open to the ministry of women at all levels of the church’s life whilst respecting and seeking to hold together those of differing views.

• A people person with a welcoming presence

• Approachable, warm and inclusive

• Generous and affirming

• Keen to encourage, motivate and empower

• Able to recognise and utilise the talents and abilities of clergy and laity

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