The Rt Revd Alison White is to retire as Bishop of Hull in February 2022.
She has served as Bishop of Hull since her consecration as the Church of England's second female bishop in York Minster on the 3rd July 2015, in succession to the Rt Revd Richard Frith.
Alison studied English and then Theology at Durham, and went on to serve as deaconess, then deacon and later priest at Chester-le-Street and then Birtley in the Diocese of Durham. She studied for an MA in Theology through Leeds University. From 1989 to 1993 she served as Durham’s Diocesan Adviser in Local Mission, and then spent 5 years as Director of Mission and Pastoral Studies at Cranmer Hall.
She was Director of Ordinands for Durham Diocese and then part of the national Springboard Team (in which she worked alongside the present Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell) before moving to Peterborough Diocese as Adult Education Officer, also becoming a Canon of Peterborough Cathedral. In 2011 she moved to the Diocese of Newcastle, where her husband Frank had become Assistant Bishop of Newcastle. She served as Adviser for Spirituality and Spiritual Direction and Priest-in-Charge of Riding Mill. She was also honorary Canon Theologian at Sheffield Cathedral.
On her appointment as Bishop of Hull, then-Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said, "Alison is a person of real godliness and wisdom – it is fantastic that she has accepted God’s call to make Christ visible together with all of us in this Diocese of York."
As Bishop of Hull she has held a particular responsibility for the care of the people, parishes and clergy in the City of Hull, across the East Riding of Yorkshire and on the Yorkshire coast as far north as Ravenscar. Across the Diocese of York as a whole, Archbishop Sentamu appointed her Ambassador for Prayer and Spirituality and for Urban Life & Faith; in this capacity she has overseen the team that has launched Mustard Seed, the Diocese of York's initiative to build new worshipping communities amongst those living in places where life is tough.
Bishop Alison said, "I have loved being Bishop here in Hull and the East Riding – what an enormous gift! There are so many great people that I have met, worked with and prayed alongside. It will be a huge wrench to leave but I will carry the stories, and hopes with me. Lots of new things are happening and it seems right for a new person to come and take all that forward”.
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said, "One of the joys of becoming Archbishop of York has been the opportunity to work and worship again with Bishop Alison; she is a shining presence in the church and someone who attracts people to the God she serves and makes visible through her own gentle prayerfulness and joyful warmth - not to mention her sense of humour. She is a gift to those who come to hear her, and to those she meets to do the Lord's work and to reach out with his love. Alison will be a hard act to follow, and she and Frank will leave with my gratitude and my prayers."
Bishops Alison and Frank White are the first and, to date, only instance in the Church of England of bishops married to each other. Bishop Frank joined Bishop Alison in Hull on his retirement in 2016 and has made his own contribution to the running and development of Hull Minster, including a spell as interim Priest-in-Charge there prior to the present Vicar's arrival.
Bishops Alison and Frank plan to realise their long-held ambition to settle in Northumberland.