THE next Anglican Suffragan Bishop of Lancaster has been chosen and will start her new role in the summer.

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

She went to Bolton School 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.

The 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. She succeeds the Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, who retired last July.

The date of her consecration at York Minster is June 29.

The Bishop of Lancaster-designate was introduced by Bishop Julian at Marsh Community Centre, Lancaster, this morning, alongside the Suffragan Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev. Philip North. Joining the Bishops were other members of the bishop’s leadership team.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be appointed the eighth Bishop of Lancaster," said Mrs Duff. "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.

“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," she said. “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.”