The first bishop to hold the title for almost 100 years is consecrated at Ripon Cathedral
Paul Slater, the former Archdeacon of Richmond and Craven, has become the new Bishop of Richmond at an historic service of consecration held in Ripon Cathedral (on Sunday July 19).
The service led by the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Dr John Sentamu, was packed with friends and family, bishops from across the Northern province, civic dignitaries, along with clergy and lay colleagues.
The decision by the Archbishop of York to hold the consecration service at Ripon Cathedral is almost unprecedented. At the start of the service, the Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd John Dobson referred to the last time an Archbishop of York had consecrated a bishop in Ripon Minster – in the year 1293, when Archbishop Romanus of York consecrated Thomas of Dalton at Ripon to be Bishop of Galloway. (Pictured right - the historic entrance of the Archbishop of York)
“We at Ripon would like to thank our favourite Archbishop of the last seven hundred years for inviting us to host this service… I certainly welcome with joy Archbishop Sentamu and his wife Margaret into this Cathedral church this afternoon.”
In her sermon, the Revd Canon Felicity Lawson, Vicar of Gildersome (pictured right, above Paul Slater), said that whilst the See of Richmond had been vacant since 1921, “...for Paul (Slater) it must have been one of the quickest moves from appointment to consecration in recent history - the Church of England can move fast when it wants to!”
There was an international dimension to the service with the music being led by a visiting choir from Canada, the Choir of St Jude’s Church Oakville Ontario (see pic below right). The bishops present gathered around Paul to pray for him and then he was presented with a Bible (pic left) and anointed with oil by the Archbishop of York.
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 Episcopal Area, working with clergy and parishes, and will occasionally deputise for Bishop Nick, who will remain Area Bishop of Leeds.
Before the creation of the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales in 2014, Bishop 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.
However, Bishop Paul has had experience in Leeds, as he explained. “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."
Bishop 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.
(Above left, Bishop Paul Slater, the Archbishop of York, and the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines)