A rover's return for Sheffield's new bishop

A HALIFAX-born minister is set to return to Yorkshire to become the next Bishop of Sheffield.

The Rev Steven Croft, who currently works in Canterbury, succeeds Bishop Jack Nicholls, who retired earlier this year.

As Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Croft will have oversight over the Church of England parishes in South Yorkshire and parts of the East Riding, near Goole.

The father-of-four said that he was "looking forward enormously" to moving back to Yorkshire and his main priorities would be to engage with all parts of the community and work with Christians of all denominations.

Dr Croft added: "I have a lot to learn about the diocese and also about how to be a bishop. It's going to be a fairly steep learning curve.

"I intend to spend my first months in the diocese listening to what is happening in the many different communities.

"I'll be spending time getting to know clergy and parishes but also, I hope, working alongside different people in the community to see South Yorkshire from different points of view."

Dr Croft was born in Halifax in 1957 and went on to study for the priesthood in Durham after going to Oxford University.

He worked in Halifax, as vicar of Ovenden, between 1987 and 1996, before moving back to Durham.

Shortly after Rowan Williams was appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Croft took up his current role as Archbishops' Missioner and leader of the Fresh Expressions team - an initiative aimed at encouraging new ways the church can run in the 21st century.

He has also written a novel, The Advent Calendar, which was published in 2006.

Dr Croft will be consecrated as bishop by the Archbishop of York in the New Year and is expected to be enthroned in Sheffield Cathedral in the spring.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said: "I am delighted about this significant appointment, and I wish Steve every blessing for his ministry in Sheffield."