MAY I INTRODUCE MYSELF ~
I was born and bred in the East End of London. I first worked as a hair dresser and later at the local Jellied Eel factory where my mother had worked for many years. My father had been a seaman but later a bus driver. Leaving school I moved off to Birmingham and was there introduced to Educational Psychology. I then returned to London University and worked with Biker gangs in the vacations. From King's London it was off to New York to take my Master’s degree - and play my guitar around the city's nightclubs. I returned to England to marry Vicki and continue studies at St Augustine's College, Canterbury. Ordained in 1970 I served the vast housing estate of Kingstanding - and remained in Birmingham for20 years.
Whilst in parish ministry I was also Industrial Chaplain to the British Steel works, and the Rover Cars' training division. I took a turn as chair of Birmingham Council of Churches Youth Department, having founded the Powerhouse Youth Club for local 'Skinheads'.
Seven wonderful years were spent as Principal of a national community of theological study (the Aston Training Scheme) which prepared women and men for Anglican theological colleges and courses.
After that it was back to my native East End as Team Rector of Poplar – the site of the London Docklands development - making for a parish of extreme wealth cheek by jowl with abject poverty.
Then, out of the blue came a letter asking me to serve as Bishop of Bradwell in the Diocese of Chelmsford. We tried talking our way out of it but eventually I was consecrated Bishop in Westminster Abbey, on 23 February 1993, the Feast of St Polycarp. Later I co-founded, with Dr Andrew Davey, the Anglican Network on Global Urbanisation, and became Lead Bishop on Issues of Regeneration and Development for the CofE. I squeezed in chairing the Church's Consultative Group for Urban Strategy and remained the Chair of the National Estate Churches Network until 2016.
From the start I had a special interest in Liberation Theology and Ministerial Formation which led to many invitations to speak and write on those subjects around the world. That experience increased my concern for a globalised perspective on Urban Theology, which I hope is evident in my books.
Those journeys took me to India, the love of which has taken me back many times and led to being a co-founder of the charity: Friends of the Poor in South India. It's now called Building Better Futures International.
My interest in Prayer and Benedictine Spirituality resulted in an invitation to become Bishop Visitor to the Anglican Benedictine convent at Malling Abbey, where we've since seen the reorganisation of the Abbey and the creation of the new St Benedict’s Centre for retreat & study, and the arrival on site of St Augustine’s College of Theology.
I hope that gives you some background on what you'll read on other pages.
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