Norfolk's Bishop James set for move to Kent
By Keith Morris
2010: Her Majesty the Queen has approved the nomination of the Rt Revd James Langstaff, Suffragan Bishop of Lynn
(right) as the 107th Bishop of Rochester
. He will succeed the Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali
who resigned on August 31, 2009.
Bishop James will visit the Rochester Diocese today (June 22) to meet his future colleagues and parishioners. He will then return to Norfolk to continue his busy schedule until the autumn. He will be officially installed as Bishop of Rochester in a special service at Rochester Cathedral towards the end of the year.
Bishop James came to the Diocese of Norwich in 2004, and said of his six years as Bishop of Lynn, “I have especially valued and enjoyed the opportunities to visit parishes across west Norfolk, and to get to know the clergy and lay leaders. The concept of a Christian presence in every neighbourhood is one that I greatly value and it’s been a great encouragement to see people working that out at a local level.
“Another highlight has been our Diocesan link with the Province of Papua New Guinea – it has been a huge privilege to develop friendships with Christians in a very different culture, from whom I have learned so much. Being appointed Bishop of Rochester is a great honour, but I will miss the people of Norfolk and I will be very sad to leave.”
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James said: "James Langstaff has been an outstanding Bishop of Lynn. In just six years he has become greatly respected in the Diocese of Norwich and the wider community alike. His people skills are well reflected in both his pastoral care and his extensive engagement with social issues, especially related to housing.
“He has energy, intelligence and a wonderful lightness of touch in speaking of God and the gospel. We will miss him and Bridget enormously. The Diocese of Rochester will soon discover its good fortune.”
During his time as Bishop of Lynn, Bishop James has been Chair of Flagship Housing Group – a social housing organization with over 20,000 properties in the Eastern Region. He is also Chair of Housing Justice, the national voice of the churches on housing and homelessness. He has served on the East of England Regional Assembly and has been a Trustee of the Norfolk Rural Community Council.
Bishop James is married to Bridget, a Regional Development manager with the National Treatments Agency for Substance Misuse, and they have a son, Alasdair (26) and a daughter, Helen (24).
The Diocese of Rochester has a growing population of around 1.2 million and serves Kent north and west of Maidstone and the London Boroughs of Bexley and Bromley. Bishop James will have oversight of 200 full time clergy and 265 churches.
Bishop James trained for the ordained ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham. He served his curacy in the Diocese of Guildford before moving to the Diocese of Birmingham in 1986 as Vicar of Nechells. He served as Chaplain to the Bishop of Birmingham from 1996-2000 before being appointed as Rector of Holy Trinity, Sutton Coldfield until his move to Norfolk in 2004. While in Birmingham, he developed a particular interest in urban regeneration and social housing.