10 Downing Street has announced that the Venerable Paul Slater, currently the Archdeacon of Richmond and Craven, has been appointed as Bishop of Richmond – a new suffragan bishop post for the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales, and the first Bishop of Richmond in nearly 100 years.
The See of Richmond has been dormant since 1921 but has been revived, adding a sixth bishop to the diocesan leadership team. Paul will mainly cover the Bishop of Leeds’ work in the Leeds Episcopal Area, working with clergy and parishes, and will occasionally deputise for Bishop Nick, who will remain Area Bishop of Leeds.
Paul Slater was introduced this morning (18 June) at Leeds Minster to the media, civic dignitaries, clergy and other faith leaders.
Then at Leeds Civic Hall, he met with the Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Judith Chapman and the Deputy Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, Alan Gay (see right).
Bishop Nick said, "I am very pleased that Paul Slater will be joining the episcopal team in the diocese.
"He brings unrivalled experience of West Yorkshire at every level of the church, and has walked the journey of the last few years with us with great practical wisdom. He will hit the ground running and add great capacity to diocesan leadership, especially in the Leeds Episcopal Area for which he will largely take responsibility."
(right: Paul explaining, with the help of a visual aid, what a bishop is to pupils from St Peter’s CE Primary School, Leeds.)
Paul Slater says, "I am pleased to be given this opportunity to continue to serve the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales in this new role as Bishop of Richmond, and I look forward to getting to know the churches and people of the Leeds Episcopal Area. I first got to know Leeds in the 1980s when I worked among homeless men at St George's Crypt; Leeds in 2015 is an exciting place to live, with ambitious plans for itself, and I believe the church has an important role to play in fostering its wellbeing and welfare."
Before the creation of the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales in 2014, Paul, who is 57, had served all his ministry in the former Diocese of Bradford, including being Rector of Haworth, Bishop's Officer for Ministry and Mission and Archdeacon of Craven.
He attended Bradford Grammar School and after graduating in Chemistry from Corpus Christi, Oxford, trained for the ministry at St John’s College in Durham.
Paul is married to Beverley, a manager in the NHS leading service improvement, and they have two grown up sons. His interests include tennis, cricket, cooking and workplace mediation.
The post will be paid for by the Church Commissioners; the only cost to the diocese will be housing. The appointment will be made under Common Tenure (ie. it won’t be time limited), but when the post is eventually vacated (as with any episcopal vacancy), the Diocesan Bishop would need to petition the Dioceses Commission to refill it, if appropriate.
Bishop Nick added, “The need for this post is both urgent and pragmatic. It will free me up to attend to the macro work of the diocese (and help speed up the process of transition) as well as giving the Leeds Area the full attention it needs.”
Paul Slater will be consecrated as Bishop of Richmond at Ripon Cathedral on Sunday 19 July at 4pm.
Read Bishop Nick's blog on the appointment here.