After last week’s little flurry, we do not know whether the Crown Nominations Commission has made up its mind, but is going through administrative hoops, or whether it has not made up its mind and is pretending to be going through administrative hoops in order to mask its failure to reach a decision. Either way, we are not likely to have a definitive answer for a while, so I propose to continue our gentle stroll through the presumed candidates. I think the bookmakers’ lists are increasingly unreliable, and many bookmakers have withdrawn from the fray. Certainly the rankings are all over the place. We will continue to use the original list.
And so we come to the Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart.
David Andrew Urquhart, born on 14 April 1952, was educated at Rugby and Ealing Technical College Business School (BA 1977). Like Justin Welby, he then had a career ‘in oil’, in his case with British Petroleum (1972-82).
He is not married. In the old days, the cryptic annotation ‘WHM’ (‘wife has means’) would have been looked for in Crockford’s when selecting a bishop – or indeed any priest expected to entertain on a lordly scale – but these days potential wives with private incomes are hard to come by.
Bishop David studied for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and was ordained in 1984. The Crockford’s entry is as follows:
|+URQUHART, The Rt Revd David Andrew. b 52. Ealing Business Sch BA77. Wycliffe Hall Ox 82. d 84 p 85 c 00. C Kingston upon Hull St Nic York 84-87; TV Drypool 87-92; V Cov H Trin 92-00; Hon Can Cov Cathl 99-00; Suff Bp Birkenhead Ches 00-06; Bp Birm from 06.|
I have not been able to find any publications.
Bishop David has been described as ‘a low church evangelical’. He voted in favour of the Anglican Covenant, but apparently put no pressure on his diocesan synod to follow suit and in the event Birmingham voted against it. Bishop David, and the entire Birmingham delegation, voted in favour of adjourning the debate to enable reconsideration of amendment 5.1.c, the position generally taken by those in favour of women bishops.
Bishop David joined the House of Lords in 2010 and is a spokesman on “Economy/Tax/Business; Foreign Policy; Local/Regional Government”. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Envoy to China in 2006. And he is the Prelate of the Order of St Michael and St George, the order awarded to diplomats.
He is a very active member of the community in Birmingham, where he has been the Chair of the ‘Be Birmingham’ Summit of the Local Strategic Partnership.
Leap in the dark assessment
At his enthronement Urquhart was presented with a cope which incorporated various images related to his life and the city of Birmingham. These included a bagpiper, signifying his birth and upbringing in Scotland, a motorcycle which represents one of his hobbies, and the emblems of Aston Villa and Birmingham City FC, the two most prominent football teams from the city.
“You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets to dwell in.”
Could David Urquhart be the peacemaker, the unifying force, that we need?