Downing Street today announced that the new Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham will be the Rt Revd Paul Williams, currently the Area Bishop of Kensington, in the Diocese of London.
Paul, who will take up this new role in the summer, said: “I am thrilled at the prospect of joining an outstanding diocesan team committed to advancing the mission of the church for the benefit of all who live in the city and county of Nottingham. It’s clearly an exciting time to be moving to the county and I look forward to getting to know people and playing a full part in helping the city fulfil its compelling ambitions, as well as addressing the challenges that communities face across the region.”
“There are over 300 churches in the diocese making a massive difference in every community. I am delighted that I shall be working with some very gifted clergy and congregations, along with ecumenical partners, living as people of confident hope in Jesus Christ. I’m energised by the thought that together we can help create a more hopeful society in which everyone has equal opportunity to flourish. I look forward to the exciting challenge of growing the church, especially connecting with younger people and in schools, to help build united and more compassionate communities.”
The Rt Revd Tony Porter, Bishop of Sherwood, said: “I am thrilled to bits at Bishop Paul’s appointment. He has a proven record in leadership, community engagement, and working with children and young people.
“He is exactly what we prayed for and I thank God that He answered our prayers.”
Paul, 47, who grew up in Somerset, studied at Durham University, before training for ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, having first considered becoming a priest in his teens.
His late mother Heather, who in 1994 became one of the first women to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England, was a unique inspiration to him: “She was the most significant influence on my own faith and call to ordained ministry.”
Paul served his curacy in North London at St James, Muswell Hill, from 1992 to 1995 and then as Associate Vicar at Christ Church, Clifton, Bristol, to 1999, working especially with students from across the city. From 1999 to 2009 he was the Rector of St James, Gerrards Cross in South Buckinghamshire, where the church saw significant growth and became a creative hub for mission in the region.
Since 2009 Paul has been the Bishop of Kensington, overseeing the Church’s mission across a diverse and dynamic part of West London covering six boroughs. During this time he has been particularly involved in planting new churches and pioneering new forms of leadership training, notably with younger leaders. Paul’s experience of ministry among children and young people also led to the establishment of an innovative team working in secondary schools across in the West London.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “It is a great joy and delight to welcome Bishop Paul Williams to the Northern Province. His evangelistic gifting, leading churches into growth, equipping clergy and laity for mission and ministry, his care for the poor and vulnerable, and his imaginative ministry to children and young people will make Southwell & Nottingham rejoice. Welcome to a great lover of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
The Rt Revd Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, said: “In just five years Paul has made a major contribution to the health and vitality of the Church in London and he will be very much missed. His appointment is good news for his new Diocese and I have no doubt that his move will strengthen the links between London and Nottingham.”
Paul is married to Sarah and they have three sons: Edward, 16, Thomas, 14, and Joseph, 12. They are also foster carers in their local borough and are deeply engaged in the wider issues relating to the care of looked-after children.
In his spare time Paul enjoys various sports, especially cricket and football, as well as running with his teenage sons. He has wide musical tastes, with a special affection for jazz and blues.
Paul succeeds the Rt Revd Paul Butler, who left Southwell & Nottingham last year to become the Bishop of Durham.
To see a video message from Bishop Paul follow this link: http://youtu.be/7wiuxIv6sKs