After taking soundings, Lay Anglicana has decided to continue with our episcopal portraits, but to drop the justification that they are all in the melting pot for Cantuar. Few bishops are national figures and, unless one is a member of General Synod, most of the laity have little knowledge of those with whom they have had no personal contact.
Background and Career
Our next subject has a Wikipedia entry even shorter than Bishop Tim Thornton:
Alastair Llewellyn John Redfern (born 1 September 1948) was educated at Christ Church, Oxford. He was ordained in 1976 and was a curate in Wolverhampton. He then became a lecturer and later vice-principal of Ripon College Cuddesdon. From 1987 to 1997 he was the Canon Theologian of Bristol Cathedral before his ordination to the episcopate as suffragan Bishop of Grantham. In 2005 he was translated to be the Bishop of Derby. Redfern received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 2001.
+REDFERN, The Rt Revd Alastair Llewellyn John. b 48. Ch Ch Ox BA70 MA74 Trin Coll Cam BA74 MA79 Bris Univ PhD01. Westcott Ho Cam 72 Qu Coll Birm 75. d 76 p 77 c 97. C Tettenhall Regis Lich 76-79; Tutor Ripon Coll Cuddesdon 79-87; Hon C Cuddesdon Ox 83-87; Can Res Bris Cathl 87-97; Dioc Dir Tr 91-97; Suff Bp Grantham Linc 97-05; Dean Stamford 98-05; Can and Preb Linc Cathl 00-05; Bp Derby from 05.
This makes it clear that Bishop Alastair not only has a BA (and accompanying MA) from Christ Church Oxford, but also from Trinity College Cambridge.
We learn from the diocesan website that Bishop Alastair is married to Caroline. He has two children, Elizabeth and Zoë, from his marriage to his late wife, Jane.
He has been a member of numerous committees in the national Church. He is also co-chair of the Inter-faith Network. In wider community circles he has volunteered for several roles throughout his ordained ministry, including work in night shelters for the homeless, working with Oxfam and Christian Aid, being a member of a steering group for regeneration in Lincolnshire communities and contributing to local radio.
These include ‘Ministry and Priesthood: Exploring Faith‘ (1999), Being Anglican‘ (2000),’ Oversight and authority in the nineteenth century church of England: a case study of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (2001), ‘Thomas Hobbes and the Limits of Democracy‘ (2009), Public Space and Private Faith (2009), ‘Growing the Kingdom: The Letter to the Hebrews as a Resource for Mission’,(2010), Community and Conflict (2011), and Out of the Depths (2012).
Not only did Bishop Alastair vote against the adoption of the Anglican Covenant, he was joined by 23 out of 24 clergy in his diocese who voted against or abstained, and 26 out of 28 laity who did likewise. (How splendid!).
He also voted in favour of adjourning the General Synod debate to enable reconsideration of amendment 5.1.c, the position generally taken by those in favour of women bishops.
I have found nothing more definite about Bishop Alastair’s churchmanship (perhaps someone will tell us in the comments) but suggest that this indicates that he is no sort of extremist, and if he is an Evangelical is likely to be of the Benny Hazlehurst variety.
Leap in the dark assessment
I detect a definite twinkle in the eye of the Lord Bishop of Derby. In this address, he compares human beings in the 21st century to Legion, the person who had all those competing voices in his head whom Jesus healed (Luke 8.26-39). We too are beset by competing voices, and must make an effort to clear our minds in order to concentrate on what is important. I think he would make a congenial bishop.