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Last updated 15th August 2022

Vacancy in See and Crown Nominations Commission

Election of Crown Nominations Commission reps

The final meeting of the Vacancy-in-See Committee was held on Tuesday, May 24 at Blackburn Cathedral, writes Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Chair of the Committee. 

We were delighted to welcome Stephen Knott (Archbishops’ Appointment Secretary) and Helen Dimmock (Prime Minister’s Appointment Secretary) to meet with us over a buffet supper.

They had appreciated spending time in the Diocese and the time spent in all the consultations. We then prayer time in the Jesus Chapel before our meeting. 

A song used in our prayer time at the Cathedral which resonated with many was 'Be still for the presence of the Lord'. May we all know His stillness, presence and leading in the coming months.”

At the meeting which followed prayer we ...

  • ... signed off the Statement of Needs (see below for the document)
  • ... elected our six Crown Nomination Commission (CNC) representatives, from of a total of 12 who stood for nomination. See below for more. 

Key dates to pray

June                         Names could be suggested (by June 12) for the next Bishop of Blackburn
End July CNC draw up long list of candidates (8-15)
Wednesday 21 September CNC meet in York to shortlist five candidates

Tuesday and Wednesday

8 and 9 November

CNC interview candidates in York


Announcement (8 weeks)

January 2023

New Bishop of Blackburn (3-6 months later)

July 2023

Crown Nomination Commission representatives

The following six people were elected to the Crown Nominations Commission and will interview potential candidates on November 8 and 9. 

Please keep them especially in your prayers ... 

  • Rev Paul Benfield
  • Rev Munawar Din
  • Dr Laura Oliver
  • Mrs Jacqueline Stamper
  • Mr Sam Walmsley
  • Rev Dr Tom Woolford

Statement of Needs

The Statement of Needs document is available to view below here via an 'Issuu flipbook' which allows you to view the whole document online without the need to download. 

Click below and you will be taken to the document on Issuu where the best way to view is to click either 'larger view' or 'full screen' and follow the arrows at right to travel through the document.


Proposing candidates

The Church Times recently published notification of the Vacancy in the See of Blackburn.

Anyone wishing to comment on the needs of the Diocese or the wider church, or who wished to propose candidates, was invited to write before June 12, and via email, to:

  • Mr Stephen Knott (Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments): aaad.office@churchofengland.org
  • Mrs Helen Dimmock (Ecclesiastical Secretary to the Crown and Lord Chancellor): helen.dimmock@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Prayer for the next Bishop of Blackburn

Please continue to keep this discernment process for our next Bishop of Blackburn in your prayers and particulary using this prayer ... 

Heavenly Father, we pray for a bishop full of your Holy Spirit:
a disciple who makes disciples,
a bold witness to Jesus,
and a Christ-like leader,
able to inspire children and young people with the transforming message of your Gospel.
We ask this in the name of your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

We have produced a prayer card with this prayer and the Vision prayer. Download here. Plain version here.

Background on the Vacancy in See Committee

The Vacancy in See Committee had two roles:

  • To draw up a Statement of Needs, setting out what we’re looking for in our new Diocesan Bishop.
  • To elect the diocesan representatives to the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) who select the next Bishop of Blackburn.

The Committee met three times. Its discussions are confidential.

Bishop Jill adds: "There are many Diocesan bishops retiring at the moment, but wonderfully, the National Church is responding to this, so our interview slot is sooner than we expected in November 2022, subject to the Archbishops’ approval; which would mean the following timetable..."

Vacancy in See briefing document

The briefing document provided to members of the Vacancy in See Committee is available to read for anyone who wants to do so by downloading here

Vacancy in See Committee Members

The committee members were as follows


The Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff (Chair)
The Rt Rev Philip North
The Venerable David Picken
The Venerable Mark Ireland
The Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones
The Rev Paul Benfield
The Rev Stephen Corbett
The Rev Alex Frost
The Rev Peter Lillicrap
The Rev Dr Tom Woolford
Mr Stephen Boyall
Mr Bob Collins
Mrs Vivienne Goddard
Mrs Rosemary Lyon
Dr Laura Oliver
Mr Paul Ronson
Mrs Jacqueline Stamper

Lancaster Archdeaconry (Clergy Elected)

The Rev Paul Bye
The Rev Canon Dr Simon Cox
The Rev Canon Fleur Green
The Rev Damian Porter

Blackburn Archdeaconry (Laity Elected)

Mr David Barlow
Mr Duncan Walsh
Mr David Wilkinson
Dr Julie Woolford

Lancaster Archdeaconry (Laity Elected)

Dame Pauline Fielding DBE
Mr Sam Walmsley

Nominated by Bishop's Council

Miss Elizabeth Agbettoh
The Rev Anne Beverley
The Rev Munawar Din






Ronnie Semley, March 2022; updated regularly, last June 2022


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