Honorable Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting the Right Reverend Dr Peter, known by decree by everyone as Pete Wilcox, Bishop of Sheffield for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.
Bishop Pete is the son of a Bishop which I am sure is quite rare these days. He has been ordained for over 25 years and was Dean of Liverpool Cathedral from 2012 until June of this year.
He trained at Ridley Hall in Cambridge completing a degree in modern history at Durham University. After serving as a curate on Teesside, he studied for a doctorate at Oxford University. In 1993, he returned to the Durham Diocese to serve as a team vicar in the Parish of Gateshead, while assisting in the training of ordinands at Cranmer Hall as Director of its Urban Mission Centre. Theological education and ministerial formation remain key interests for Pete, and bible teaching is his chief passion. Pete is the author of three books all taking biblical themes and making the lessons of the bible absolutely relevant to the world of today. Pete is an expert biblical scholar and a preacher who brings the story of Gods relationship with human beings to life, making the teaching of the Bible vital to the 21st century.
In 1998 he took up a new position as priest in charge of St Paul’s Church at the Crossing in Walsall – an ambitiously re-ordered town centre church combining the leadership of a Christian Social Enterprise with that of a thriving congregation. He established a mandated ministry leadership team there, committed to empowering and facilitating the contribution of the whole people of God in mission. Between August 2006 and July 2012 he was Canon Chancellor at Lichfield Cathedral, a post which involved oversight of the Cathedral’s work in education and outreach.
As Dean of Liverpool, Pete provided clear and strategic leadership, setting a new agenda for the Cathedral which will secure the future for this magnificent building for generations to come. He supervised the establishment of the Foodbank and Volition volunteer programme, the development of a Persian congregation and a new theological training centre in the North West based here at the Cathedral. Under Pete’s leadership this Cathedral became a national exemplar of how a Cathedral can thrive in the 21st Century and be a focus for renewal and service in its location and beyond.
He was instrumental in securing the partnership with Liverpool John Moores University as a Guardian of the Cathedral. This truly pioneering alliance not only secures this great space for our graduation ceremonies but allows students and staff access to the Cathedral, through music and choral scholarship opportunities, and innovative research, archive and project work for our academics.
In 2017 Pete responded to God’s call and became the next Bishop of Sheffield where he was installed this September. Pete, is a methodical, measured and innovative leader. More than ever now, with so many of our communities turning to spiritual leaders for guidance and reassurance, we need individuals who can connect and communicate their faith with authenticity and passion.
Above all Pete loves life and through his love of sport and the arts and with his wife Cathy, authoress Catherine Fox, who will no doubt continue to find material for her writings in Pete’s new role, they will contribute to any community of which they are a part. Pete exemplifies that contemporary Christian Leader who shows that when Jesus said he came that we might have life in all its fullness, it is shown to be true in him.
His time in Liverpool was transformative and we are sure that his time in Sheffield will be no different although I am sure they will have no more luck that us in getting him to change his allegiance away from Newcastle United.
Thus Chancellor, for his outstanding contribution to the life of Liverpool and its region, it is with great personal pleasure that I present the Very Reverend, Dr Pete Wilcox for admission to our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.