In a diocese where we serve some of the country's most deprived communities, we need to reflect on what we understand God's call to us in these areas is and how we live out that calling.

The Cathedral Urban Lecture has a reputation for bringing to our diocese leading theologians and practitioners who will:

  • encourage us to reflect theologically on the joys and the challenges of urban ministry as we aim to grow in numbers, in vocations and in service of our neighbourhoods and localities
  • provide an opportunity to share our thoughts and experiences with colleagues in urban ministry both formally and informally in and outside of the lecture
  • reaffirm our commitment as a diocese to ministry in our urban parishes in communities across our diocese.

Previous lectures:


2015: 'Developing Discipleship in the City', Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield 

Tackling an important issue relevant to so many urban practitioners the Author of 'Transforming Communities' and Archbishop’s Missioner 2004-2009 stimulated creative thought with his challenging lecture.

About Bishop Steven

Steven Croft was born in Halifax in 1957. He graduated from Oxford in 1980 and went on to study for the priesthood in Durham at Cranmer Hall, St John's College. It was there that he was awarded his doctorate in 1984.

After being ordained in London in 1983 he served as Curate of St. Andrew's, Enfield between 1983-87 before returning to Yorkshire as Vicar of Ovenden in the Diocese of Wakefield between 87-96. For the last three years he was also diocesan mission adviser.

An invitation to become Warden of his old theological college came in 1996 so Steven and his family returned to Durham to lead the training of men and women for Church of England ministry. Shortly after Rowan Williams was appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury, Steven was appointed as Archbishops' Missioner and Leader of the Fresh Expressions team..

In January 2009 he was consecrated Bishop of Sheffield and began public ministry in May of that year. His aim in the first two years was to get to know the Diocese, which included spending time with each deanery, visiting the clergy in their homes, as well as becoming familiar with the hospitals, prisons and schools of the Diocese.

Bishop Steven is one of two Bishops elected to the Archbishops Council and is Chair of the Ministry Council of the Church of England. He was a member of the Sheffield Fairness Commission in 2012-13 and became a member of the House of Lords in October 2013.

While Bishop of Sheffield, Bishop Steven has helped to produce Pilgrim, a new resource to enable parishes to teach the Christian faith to new Christians (2013 and 2014). He has also written regular Bible notes for Reflections and published two short courses based on the Psalms: Exploring God’s Mercy (2012) and Experiencing God’s Love (2013).


2014: 'Grace in the City',  David Walker, Bishop of Manchester

What might it mean to look at the modern city as God’s gracious gift to us?

There is a fascination in the different ways people define and express their belonging in the urban context. A principal challenge in any urban environment is to develop the confidence and skills of the whole people of God for the whole mission of God. It cannot be assumed that the patterns of the past are fit for the future and therefore the challenge is significant in urban areas where a large number of those who do reach a level of confident, engaged, Christian maturity follow that up by moving to a more desirable area.

There is a real need to train and retain leadership in the urban areas to allow God’s Holy Spirit to freely work in urban parishes and for people to feel empowered by a close and loving relationship with God in Christ.

About Bishop David

Bishop David Walker was enthroned as Bishop of Manchester in 2013. He is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Glyndwr University. He has served on the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights panel for the College of Policing and until recently was on a similar body for the Homes and Communities Agency.

He has particular experience in Social Housing, having served on the Board of the National Housing Federation from 1996 to 2002. He was ordained in 1983 and became Bishop of Dudley in 2000.

He has a great empathy with Liverpool because as a parish priest he was at Hillsborough in the days following the deaths of so many Liverpool people. He remembers vividly the sight of the twisted wreckage of the crush barriers and the tears of people still turning up at the ground to try to find what had happened to their friends and family members.


2013: "Present Suffering and Future Glory: urban mission in kingdom perspective", inaugural Cathedral Urban Lecture, Very Revd Pete Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral.

Read Dean Pete's profile on the Cathedral website here

An appreciative audience heard the Dean reflect on lessons he's learnt from his urban experiences and what it offers for the mission of the whole church.

Pete described his experiences in urban ministry before discussing the mission of the urban church citing four key influences on his own thinking - John Calvin, Leslie Newbigin, David Jenkins and Tom Wright. Finally he examined twin concepts of evangelism and the pursuit of equity, presence and proclamation.

Pete contends that:

"Jesus' resurrection body is the best paradigm we have for the relationship between the world as we know it now and the coming kingdom of God."

and that

"in urban mission across this diocese, evangelism and the pursuit of equity, presence and proclamation, incarnation and atonement, we have the Lord’s own resurrection body, and therefore also our eternal destiny as citizens of God’s kingdom, as participants in God’s new creation, as our authority and our inspiration. There’s no excuse for softpedalling the proclamation of the Gospel, of the atonement, no excuse for shying away from the serious business of calling people to conversion. If I’m right, then the Bishop’s growth agenda is rooted in nothing less than the resurrection body of Jesus. But proclamation is not at the expense of presence; there is no reason to be apologetic or defensive about engaging fully in the pursuit of equity or about the incarnation – in fact, the same resurrection body of Jesus demands it."

Watch Dean Pete's inaugural Urban Lecture below, or download it here.

Inaugural Urban Lecture - The Very Revd Dr Pete Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool from Diocese of Liverpool on Vimeo.

An appreciative audience heard the Dean discuss "Present Suffering and Future Glory: urban mission in kingdom perspective" as he reflected on lessons he's learnt from his urban experiences and what it offers for the mission of the whole church.