Downing Street has announced that the next Bishop of Liverpool will be the Rt Revd Paul Bayes. Bishop Paul has been Bishop of Hertford since 2010 and will succeed the Rt Revd James Jones, becoming the 8th Bishop of Liverpool.
Bishop Paul was introduced to the city at St Andrews Clubmoor where he toured the Foodbank meeting staff, clients and local clergy. He continues his day by travelling to Wigan, receiving Communion at Wigan Parish Church before visiting the Deanery High School for a question and answer session with a group of pupils. The Bishop then returns to Liverpool to meet diocesan staff at St James House before visiting Liverpool Cathedral. He concludes his day by attending Evening Prayer at the cathedral.
Bishop Paul said “This is a great city and a great region with great people. It deserves a great church. I’m beginning to learn just how much the people of our Diocese, alongside our friends and colleagues from other Christian traditions, contribute to this fantastic community. It’s a huge privilege to be invited to come among them, to learn from them, and to work with the team here to give some guidance and leadership for the future. No new bishop should stand alone, and I’m very grateful for the quality of the leaders of the Diocese. Bishop Richard and Archdeacons Ricky and Peter, supported by many others, are sustaining and carrying forward the vision of the Diocese in a way that’s very impressive. I support that vision for growth and I’m looking forward to carrying it forward.
Our Diocese is made up of tens of thousands of ordinary people who worship and serve an extraordinary and wonderful God. We believe that God calls us to respect, love and serve our neighbours in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s what we try to do, every day. If people are in trouble or things are hard, the Church will aim to be there with them and for them. Bishop James Jones made that very clear, for example in his chairing of the Hillsborough Independent Panel. I’m a different man from Bishop James, and I’ll have different ways of working. But I want to be here for the whole community in the same way that he was.
I’m delighted that the church here is growing. I love to see a confident church which faces its problems honestly and build on its strengths to grow in depth and in numbers. The growth of the church is important, because we believe in a loving God who wants more people to know him and to work with him in the world. We want the church to grow, not just to make a bigger church, but to make a bigger difference in our lives and the life of our communities.
Things are changing in England. In the old days the church had lots of money and lots of respect, and frankly we took all that for granted. Now we’ve got less money and we need to earn respect, by saying and doing true and real things. I think that’s all to the good. We need to be humble as Jesus was humble. A poor church with a rich message for everyone.
As Christians we have also been given an amazing gift; our faith in Jesus Christ, his teachings and his living presence. And together with my sisters and brothers from the other Churches I will want to offer our faith in Jesus to our city and the region with confidence, gentleness and respect, as we work and walk together into God’s future. It will be great to be with you all!”
Bishop Paul will be formally installed in Liverpool Cathedral at a special service later in the year.
Watch Bishop Paul inconversation
One the eve of his announcement we spoke to Bishop Paul about coming to our diocese.
What they have said
Bishop Richard Blackburn, The Bishop of Warrington and Acting Bishop of Liverpool said “I am excited to be able to confirm that Bishop Paul will be our new Bishop. He brings with him a wealth of experience and skills to lead our diocese and is a great successor to Bishop James. I am pleased that he will find a diocese in good heart, a diocese with a real sense of focus and purpose and a diocese that is working together to grow in Christ and to grow God’s kingdom. I am sure you will support him as thoroughly and prayerfully as you have supported me over the last 18 months and I look forward to welcoming him properly to our diocese and supporting him in his future ministry with us”
Bishop Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans said “Paul Bayes has made a wonderful contribution to the Diocese of St Albans during his time as Bishop of Hertford. He has not only become a good friend to many people, but he has also been a wise and energetic Christian leader. I am sorry that he is leaving us but I am also sure he will be an excellent Bishop of Liverpool. I wish Paul and Kate well in their final weeks in the diocese and as Paul takes up his new responsibilities.”
Bishop James Jones, the previous Bishop of Liverpool said “I am delighted that Bishop Paul will bring his great expertise in mission to the Diocese of Liverpool. Ten years ago I helped to appoint him to be the Church’s Adviser on Mission and Evangelism. He did this job excellently with insight and creativity. I envy him his calling for he will find a diocese that is big-hearted and growing in faith and in numbers.I hold him, the new Archbishop of Liverpool and all the Faith Leaders in my prayers.”