Diocese of Carlisle

Vacancy in See

"For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher." 

2 Timothy 1:11

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
Proverbs 3: 5-6

Vacancy in See Prayer

Everlasting God, You have welcomed each one of us in Jesus and called us to be your people in this place; 

Send us your Holy Spirit, and fill us with vision, energy, and faithfulness in prayer, that we may be true to our calling to follow daily, care deeply, speak boldly and tread gently. 

Guide us as we seek to discern who you are calling to be our new Bishop, that they may be a wise and gentle shepherd of your people, ready to serve us with joy, build us up in faith and be a herald of your son, Our Saviour Jesus Christ. 


Statement of Needs

The Diocese of Carlisle is currently in the process of seeking and appointing a new Bishop of Carlisle.

Click here to view the Statement of Needs.

Our CNC Representatives

Six diocesan representatives have been elected to the Crown Nominations Commission to assist in the selection and interviewing of all potential candidates. Please continue to pray for them in this important role.

Click here to find out more about our CNC representatives.

The process so far

A bishop looks after a ‘see’, so when there is a vacancy in a bishop’s post, it is called a Vacancy in See.

On 16 March 2023 our Vacancy in See Committee held its first meeting to begin the process for discerning and appointing our next Bishop of Carlisle. The Committee asks all members of our Diocesan Community to support this important task through prayer and reflection.

The Vacancy in See Committee exists to assist in the national process of discerning and appointing a new Diocesan Bishop. All dioceses are always required to have a Vacancy in See Committee in existence, but the Group only meets when a vacancy in the diocesan bishop post arises.

The process for discerning and appointing a new Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England includes a range of tasks and responsibilities at both a diocesan and national level. To find out more about this process please review the national guidance which is available below.

Click here for more information about the Vacancy in See process.

Our Vacancy in See Committee was first convened in March 2023 at the request of the Archbishops’ Appointment Secretary.

The Vacancy in See Committee is required to meet at least twice, but our Committee has chosen to hold at least four meetings between March and May 2023, with allowance for a further provisional meeting if needed. A summary timetable for the process can be downloaded here:

Click here for a summary timetable.

Functions of the Committee

The Committee has two tasks specified in the legislation:

  • To prepare a Statement of Needs giving a brief descriptive overview of our diocese and a statement setting out the desired profile and qualities of our new Bishop.
  • To elect six diocesan representatives to the Crown Nominations Commission to assist in the selection and interviewing of all potential candidates.

Committee Membership

The membership of a Vacancy in See Committee is governed by legislation. The membership is made up of a mixture of ex officio members (such as our General Synod representatives) and members of the Bishop Staff, elected lay and ordained members and nominated lay and ordained members of Bishop's Council.

Click here to view the Committee's membership.

If you would like to know more about how the members of the Committee are elected and appointed, please review the national guidance available.

Click here to view information about how Committee members are elected and appointed.

To facilitate the work of the Committee, the members have opted to appoint some of their members to smaller task groups to focus on particular elements.

Statement of Needs Drafting Group

The Statement of Needs Drafting Group will be responsible for producing the text setting out the needs of the diocese and qualities we seek for our new Bishop. This draft will be discussed and must be approved by the full Committee in May before it is submitted. This work will be informed by the consultation responses from across our diocese.

  • Chris Angus
  • Christine Burgess
  • Stewart Fyfe
  • Jane Maycock
  • Angela Whittaker

Consultation Group

Every response made to the Diocesan consultation (see below) will be read by at least three members of the Committee (including the Chair). The Consultation Group will collate and review all responses to help inform the drafting of the Statement of Needs.

  • Charles Hope 
  • Yvette Ladds
  • Andrew Norman
  • Vernon Ross 
  • Shanthi Thompson 

Consultation and Discernment

All Diocesan Bishops in the Church of England have both a diocesan and national role. In light of this, there are two distinct consultation processes required to help discern the qualities, experience and skills needed for the role.

Diocesan Consultation

A Diocesan Consultation has helped to guide and inform the Vacancy in See Committee in their tasks and has fed into the preparation of the Statement of Needs.

Online Questionnaire
An online questionnaire was available with people encouraged to complete this and to share the document as widely as possible within their community settings. This closed at 4.30pm on Thursday 13 April. 

In-person Meetings
There were also five in-person meetings (open to all) and held on:

  • Monday 3 April, 12 noon - St John's Workington
  • Tuesday 4 April, 12 noon - Kendal Holy Trinity
  • Tuesday 4 April, 7pm - St Pauls Barrow
  • Wednesday 5 April, 12 noon - Carlisle Cathedral
  • Tuesday 11 April, 7pm - Church House, Penrith

Online Meeting
An online meeting via Zoom in support of the consultation process also took place at 7pm on Wednesday 12 April. 

National Consultation

The Archbishops’ Appointment Secretary and the Prime Minister’s Appointment Secretary will be conducting an additional consultation as part of the wider national discernment process. This consultation will include the following:

  • Between 2 and 11 May, the Appointment Secretaries consulted via Zoom with individuals and groups representing various aspects of life, ministry and society across our diocese.
  • The Appointment Secretaries held a public consultation meeting at 7.30pm on Thursday 11 May via Zoom.
  • An advert was placed in the Church Times on Friday 12 May inviting anyone to suggest names of potential candidates for the next Bishop of Carlisle to the Appointment Secretaries.
  • People can forward further comments/suggested names by Friday 9 June by emailing here.