Derek Rawcliffe

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The Right Reverend
Derek Rawcliffe
Born 8 July 1921
Manchester, England
Died February 1, 2011(2011-02-01) (aged 89)
Leeds, England
Education Leeds University
Church Church of England
Church of the Province of Melanesia
Scottish Episcopal Church
Ordained 1944
Writings “The Meaning of it All is Love”, 2000
“Seasons of the Spirit”, 2003
“Pilgrimage to Melanesia”, 2005
“Gethsemane to Calvary" 2006
Congregations served
Claines St George, Worcester
Offices held
Archdeacon of Southern Melanesia
Bishop of the New Hebrides
Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway
Title Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway

Derek Alec Rawcliffe, OBE (8 July 1921 – 1 February 2011) was an English Anglican bishop and author. He served as Anglican Bishop of the New Hebrides[1] and the Scottish Episcopal Church's Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway.[2]

Rawcliffe was born in Manchester, the son of a tobacconist, on 8 July 1921, brought up in Gloucester, educated at Leeds University,[3] and ordained in 1944.[4] After a curacy at Claines St George, Worcester he was a teacher in the Solomon Islands until 1953 when he became Archdeacon of Southern Melanesia and the New Hebrides. He was the first Bishop of the New Hebrides from 1975 to 1980[5] when he was translated to Glasgow and Galloway, in the Scottish Episcopal Church. In Scotland, where he notably gave positions to a number of gay clergy, his limited organisational ability led to difficulties for the diocese.[citation needed] He retired in 1991.

After retirement he was made an honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Ripon, where he became the first bishop in the Church of England to announce that he was gay, after disclosing his sexuality on television in 1995.[6] Rawcliffe later argued for the age of consent for homosexual relations to be reduced to 14,[7]

Rawcliffe died on 1 February 2011 at the age of 89.[8]


Rawcliff's papers are held by SOAS Archives.


  1. ^ Melanesian Anglican
  2. ^ Amongst others he has written “The Meaning of it All is Love”, 2000; “Seasons of the Spirit”, 2003; “Pilgrimage to Melanesia”, 2005; and “Gethsemane to Calvary" 2006. British Library website accessed 18:05GMT 20 December 2010
  3. ^ Who's Who 2008: London, A & C Black, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7136-8555-8
  4. ^ Crockfords, 1947-48 Oxford, OUP, 1947
  5. ^ "Derek Rawcliffe: Church of England bishop who blessed same sex marriages" Obituary Daily Telegraph Issue no 48,429 (dated 15 February 2011)
  6. ^ "Gay English bishop Derek Rawcliffe dies at 89". The Washington Post. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011. [dead link]
  7. ^ "The Right Reverend Derek Rawcliffe". The Daily Telegraph. London. 13 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "Book of Condolences: Derek Rawcliffe". St Aidan's Church, Leeds. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
Anglican Communion titles
New title Bishop of New Hebrides
Succeeded by
Harry Tevi
Preceded by
Frederick Goldie
Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway
Succeeded by
John Taylor