A message of hope from female bishop

Rev Dr Jill Duff, the newly appointed Bishop of Lancaster, pictured centre
Rev Dr Jill Duff, the newly appointed Bishop of Lancaster, pictured centre

‘Hope has come’ says Lancashire’s first ever female bishop,  quoting Gandalf from Lord of the Rings in an address to her fellow priests.

Rev Dr Jill Duff, 45, was announced yesterday as the new Bishop of Lancaster, the first time the county has had a female bishop.

The married mother of two boys, who are aged 13 and 10, said: “I am thrilled and humbled to be appointed the eighth Bishop of Lancaster.

“Being born and brought up in Lancashire, the region has been on my heart in prayer for many years.”

During her speech yesterday at The Marsh Community Centre in Lancaster, Dr Duff quoted the wizard Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings as saying “hope has come”, in reference to the lighting of beacons in the JRR Tolkien novel.

She compared the lighting of beacons in the story to her passion for planting new congregations and “creating confident witnesses for Christ who can be beacons in their communities, sharing the Gospel message meaningfully in their own voices.”

Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, made the appointment following consultation with a group from the Diocese. The Archbishop of York has welcomed the announcement which was approved by the Queen.

Julian Henderson said: “I want to make it clear that I see Jill’s appointment as another sign that the Anglican Church in Lancashire is modelling the principles of ‘mutual flourishing’ in the Church of England.”

She is married to Rev Prof Jeremy Duff, and they have two sons, Robbie, 13 and Harry, 10.