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Old Girl Announced as Next Bishop of Lancaster

Dr Jill Duff, an Old Girl of Bolton School, has been chosen to be the next Anglican Suffragan Bishop of Lancaster. She will be the first female Bishop to be appointed in Lancashire.

Bolton-born Rev. Dr Jill Duff, 45, is currently the founding Director of the St Mellitus College, North West, which is the first full-time ordination course in the North West for over 40 years, offering context-based ordination training and theology courses.

She was a pupil (Jillian Worsley) in the Girls’ Division of Bolton School from 1980 to 1990 before studying at Christ College, Cambridge and Worcester College, Oxford. Several years in the oil industry followed before Jill trained for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.

Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, made the appointment following consultation with a representative group from the Diocese.

The Archbishop of York has welcomed the announcement which was approved by Her Majesty The Queen and posted to the Downing Street website. Jill succeeds Rt Rev. Geoff Pearson, who retired last July. The date of her consecration at York Minster is June 29, 2018.

Reflecting on her appointment, Jill said: “I am thrilled and humbled to be appointed the eighth Bishop of Lancaster. This is a vibrant and exciting part of the Church of England with its Vision 2026: Healthy Churches Transforming Communities. Being born and brought up in Lancashire, the region has been on my heart in prayer for many years.

“Time and again I have seen how, with prayer and perseverance, churches can grow and it will be good to be part of a courageous Diocese that is looking to the future with real hope. 

The Bishop-designate 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, aged 10.

Jill said: “I am deeply blessed by the persistent encouragement of my husband Jeremy and sons.

“As a mother, one of my other great passions is work with young people, and there is so much to build on in this Diocese, not least with the Diocese’s fantastic network of church schools and the fact that young people are the heart of the work for Vision 2026.

“Throughout my ministry I’ve found working with children and teenagers immensely energising; their responsiveness feeds the ways that the C of E is called to ‘proclaim the Gospel afresh in each generation’ and I look forward to seeing how that Gospel calling will play out in the coming years in this Diocese.”

Diocesan Bishop Rt Rev. Julian Henderson said: “Bishop Philip [North, the Suffragan Bishop of Burnley] and I are delighted to welcome Jill as a new member of the episcopal team here in the Diocese.

“She comes to us with a wealth of experience; a passion for prayer and for spreading the Gospel. In Jill we have a new Bishop who will make a significant contribution to the life of the Church of England in Lancashire and we look forward to her consecration in York in June.”

The Archbishop of York, The Most Rev. and Rt Hon. John Sentamu, has added his voice to those welcoming the new Bishop-designate of Lancaster saying: “I am delighted that Jill will be joining the Episcopal Team in the Diocese of Blackburn. As Bishop of Lancaster she will bring her gifts as a Theological Educator to refresh theological wisdom in the Diocese. 

“We are all rejoicing at her nomination and praying for her to flourish in her calling as Bishop in the Church of God. 

“Our prayers too are with the family as they adjust to her new role as Bishop. Her Ordination as Bishop in the Church of God, in York Minster in June, will be a celebration for us all. Praise the Lord!” 

A short message from Jill was uploaded to the Diocesan YouTube channel yesterday.

In her spare time, Jill likes to spend time with her family and enjoys walking, wild camping and holidays in the fresh air with big vistas – whether sea or mountains. Jill also enjoys seeing friends; running; journaling; playing the piano for relaxation; photography and writing fun lyrics to well-known songs as the occasion demands!

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