Tuesday, January 13, 2009


New Bishop of St Albans is announced! He is Alan Smith, currently Bishop of Shrewsbury. In a video on youtube he says:

Hello. I’m Alan Smith and today it’s been announced that I’m going to be the next Bishop of St Albans.

I feel excited and daunted by what lies ahead, although sad to be leaving the people of Shropshire where I’ve had seven very happy years.

As we seek to engage with the world, one of the most profound challenges facing us is whether we are willing to go deeper into God.

That adventure of faith isn’t without its cost. It means going deeper in prayer and worship; it means grappling with the Scriptures; being open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit; generously giving more and of course serving the communities in which we live.

I’ve tried to work that out in my own life over recent years, in a variety of different contexts.

Coming from a rural background in Wiltshire, I’m passionate about the countryside; about treasuring the environment; supporting the agricultural industry and strengthening out rural parishes

But I’ve also worked for many years in urban areas. I’ve rubbed shoulders with people of other faiths and I’ve been enriched and challenged by them.

For a number of years I was a member of a lay religious community, Lee Abbey, where I learnt a great deal about how Christians live together even where they’ve got differences. It was there I caught the ecumenical bug. Which I’ve never been able to shake off since

I was nurtured in the glories of traditional Anglican worship but I’ve also encouraged Fresh Expressions and Church Planting as we seek to engage with a fresh generation. That’s one of the areas where our Church schools have such an important role to play.

Then there’s the question of how we relate our faith to our work, especially in times like these when many people are anxious about the future.

When I take up my new role in a few months time as Bishop of St Albans, my first priority will be to listen. To listen of course to those who are already working in the diocese, and who know it so much better than I do.

But I will also want to listen to those community leaders of faith or of no faith who are as passionate as I am about the communities we serve. I’ll also want to listen to those who for whatever reason, feel their voices are not heard.

Above all when I come I will want to seek God’s guidance. So that together as the people of the dioceses of St Albans we can move together into the future to which he has called us. God is faithful and he will do it.


Dr Alan Smith (aged 51) was educated at Birmingham University and the University of Wales. He trained for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He served his curacy in the Diocese of Bradford at Pudsey St Lawrence from 1981 to 1984. From 1984 to 1990 he was Chaplain of the Lee Abbey Community. From 1990 to 1997 he was Team Vicar at St Matthew’s Walsall, Lichfield Diocese, and also Diocesan Missioner. From 1997 to 2001 he was Archdeacon of Stoke-upon-Trent and Honorary Canon of Lichfield Cathedral. Since 2001 he has been Area Bishop of Shrewsbury.

He served as a member of the General Synod from 1999 to 2001. Since 2006 he has been a member of the Rural Bishops’ Panel and he chairs the group which is planning the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the Archbishops’ Commission on Rural Areas. He is chair of the Local Strategic Partnership for Shropshire. He has contributed chapters to “Changing Rural Life” (2004) and “Celebrating Community: God’s Gift for Today ‘s World” (2006). He has written “Growing up in Multifaith Britain: Explorations in Youth, Ethnicity and Religion” (2007) and “God-Shaped Mission: A Perspective from the Rural Church” (2007).

He is single. His interests include environmental and green issues including the work of the World Development Movement. He enjoys skiing, travelling, gardening and both playing and listening to music. He is a member of Amnesty International.

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