John Saxbee

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The Right Reverend
John Saxbee
Bishop of Lincoln
Diocese Diocese of Lincoln
In office 2001/2 – 31 January 2011 (retirement)
Predecessor Bob Hardy
Successor Christopher Lowson
Other posts Bishop of Ludlow (1994–2002)
Ordination 1972 (deacon)
1973 (priest)
Consecration 1994
Personal details
Born (1946-01-07) 7 January 1946 (age 71)
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Spouse Jackie Saxbee
Children 1 daughter, Helen Saxbee
Alma mater University of Bristol
St John's College, Durham

John Charles Saxbee (born 7 January 1946) is a retired Anglican bishop. He was the Bishop of Lincoln in the Church of England between 2001/2 and 31 January 2011.[1][2] He was introduced to the House of Lords as a new Lord Spiritual on 1 July 2008 together with Eliza Manningham-Buller, former Director-General of MI5.[3]

Education, ordination and career[edit]

Bristol-born, Saxbee was educated at the University of Bristol where he obtained a BA degree in 1968. He subsequently went on to complete his PhD degree at St John's College, Durham in 1974. He trained for the priesthood at Cranmer Hall in Durham and was ordained in Exeter Cathedral as a deacon in 1972 and a priest in 1973.[4] From 1972 he was curate at Compton Gifford in the Diocese of Exeter before moving to Weston Mill in the same diocese as priest-in-charge in 1977. He later became Vicar of St Philips in Weston Mill before moving to become Team Vicar of Central Exeter Team Ministry in 1981; a post he held until 1987. He was Joint Director of the South West Ministerial Training Course between 1981 and 1992 and was a member of the General Synod's House of Clergy between 1985 and 1994.

He became a prebendary at Exeter Cathedral in 1988 until his appointment as Archdeacon of Ludlow and a prebendary of Hereford Cathedral in 1992. Between 1992 and 1994 he was also priest-in-charge of Wistanstow and Acton Scott. He was appointed Suffragan Bishop of Ludlow in 1994 whilst remaining Archdeacon of Ludlow. He relinquished both posts when he took up his role as Bishop of Lincoln in 2002, his appointment having been announced on 4 September 2001 and his election confirmed late December 2001/early January 2002.[5] He was installed at Lincoln Cathedral on 23 March 2002. Saxbee is also an academic writer having published Liberal Evangelism: a flexible response to the decade in 1994.[6]

Saxbee has expressed concerns about the divisive nature of the proposed Anglican Covenant, speaking at the November 2010 General Synod he said, "the Anglican Communion doesn't need a Covenant because Anglicanism is a covenant."[7]

Personal life[edit]

Saxbee is married to Jacqueline ("Jackie"),[8] who was his secretary and with whom he has one grown-up daughter, Helen, who works for the Church Times.[8] He enjoys reading Victorian novels, watching sport on television and listening to music. He is also a supporter of Bristol City FC. He and his wife now live in Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales.[9]


Saxbee announced to the March 2010[10] meeting of Lincoln's diocesan synod[11] that he intended to retire as Bishop of Lincoln on 31 January 2011.[2][12]

Saxbee's opposition to the proposed Anglican Covenant continued into his retirement when, together with Peter Selby, retired Bishop of Worcester, he was appointed an episcopal patron of the international No Anglican Covenant Coalition.[13] In a joint letter to the Church Times, Saxbee and Selby warned that "this is a time to hold fast to Anglicanism’s inherited culture of inclusion and respectful debate which is our way of dealing with difference rather than require assent to procedures and words that have already shown themselves to be divisive."[14]

Since 2011, he has been permitted to officiate[9] as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of St David's within the Church in Wales, with special oversight for retired clergy in that diocese.[15] On 11 February 2017, fourteen retired bishops signed an open letter to the then-serving bishops of the Church of England. In an unprecedented move, they expressed their opposition to the House of Bishops' report to General Synod on sexuality, which recommended no change to the Church's canons or practises around sexuality.[16] By 13 February, a serving bishop (Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham) and nine further retired bishops — including Saxbee — had added their signatures;[17] on 15 February, the report was rejected by synod.[18]

Other appointments[edit]



  1. ^ "The 71st Bishop of Lincoln". BBC Lincolnshire. BBC. 22 March 2002. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  2. ^ a b Lincoln Diocese — Bishop signs off Archived 18 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "What's on: Parliamentary Calendar". Houses of Parliament. Houses of Parliament. 1 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  4. ^ Rt Revd Dr John Saxbee - official website of the Church of England
  5. ^ The Diocese of Lincoln — The Bishop of Lincoln's Letter, February 2002 (Archived 4 February 2002; accessed 7 August 2016)
  6. ^ "See of Lincoln". 10 Downing Street. 10 Downing Street. 4 September 2001. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  7. ^ "Bishop John Saxbee on the Anglican Covenant". Lesley's Blog. The Rev'd Lesley Crawley. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Diocese of Lincoln — Who we are
  9. ^ a b Crockford's Clerical Directory, 2014-15. Church House Publications. p. 773. ISBN 978-0-7151-1072-0. 
  10. ^ "Bishop of Lincoln". Lincolnshire Pride. January 11, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2017. 
  11. ^ West, Judy (March 27, 2010). "Bishop of Lincoln to retire". Church of England Newspaper. Retrieved March 20, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Bishop of Lincoln announces retirement". Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Episcopal Patrons for No Anglican Covenant Coalition". Thinking Anglicans. 6 July 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  14. ^ Saxbee, John; Selby, Peter (6 January 2012). "Letters Page: Synodical debate on the Anglican Covenant". Church Times, Issue 7764. London, England: Hymns Ancient and Modern. ISSN 0009-658X. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "No rest for the righteous? Some reflections on clergy retirement". Pobl Dewi. March 2016. p. 2.  Article by John Saxbee in St David's Diocese newspaper.
  16. ^ Retired Bishops' Letter — The Letter (Accessed 11 February 2017; the fourteen bishops were David Atkinson, Michael Doe, Tim Ellis, David Gillett, John Gladwin, Laurie Green, Richard Harries, Stephen Lowe, Stephen Platten, John Pritchard, Peter Selby, Tim Stevens, Martin Wharton, and Williamson.)
  17. ^ Retired Bishops' Letter — New Signatures (Accessed 17 February 2017; the nine bishops were Gordon Bates, Ian Brackley, John Davies, Peter Maurice, David Rossdale, Saxbee, Martin Shaw, Oliver Simon, and David Stancliffe.
  18. ^ The Grauniad — Church of England in turmoil as synod rejects report on same-sex relationships (Accessed 17 February 2017)
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Ian Griggs
Bishop of Ludlow
Succeeded by
Michael Hooper
Preceded by
Bob Hardy
Bishop of Lincoln
Succeeded by
Christopher Lowson
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Peter Selby
President of Modern Church
Succeeded by
John Barton