Steven Croft (bishop)
|Bishop of Oxford|
The Lord Bishop of Oxford, 2019
|Church||Church of England|
|Diocese||Diocese of Oxford|
|In office||6 July 2016 – present|
|Other posts||Warden, Cranmer Hall (1996–2004)|
Archbishops' Missioner and Fresh Expressions Team Leader (2004–2008)
Bishop of Sheffield (2008–2016)
|Ordination||25 September 1983 (deacon) |
by Bill Westwood
23 September 1984 (priest)
by Graham Leonard
|Consecration||25 January 2009|
by John Sentamu
|Born||29 May 1957|
Halifax, West Riding of Yorkshire, United Kingdom
|Residence||Bishop's Lodge, Kidlington|
|Alma mater||Worcester College, Oxford|
Steven John Lindsey Croft (born 29 May 1957) is a Church of England bishop and theologian specialising in mission. He is the Bishop of Oxford since the confirmation of his election on 6 July 2016. He was the Bishop of Sheffield from 2008 until 2016; previously he was Archbishops’ Missioner and Team Leader of Fresh Expressions, a joint Church of England and Methodist initiative. He falls within the open evangelical tradition of Anglicanism.
Early life and education
Croft was born on 29 May 1957. He attended Heath Grammar School in Halifax and studied classics and theology at Worcester College, Oxford, graduating in 1980. He trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham, earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in 1984 with his thesis The identity of the Individual in the Psalms.
Croft was ordained as deacon in the Diocese of London, on 25 September 1983 by Bill Westwood, Bishop of Edmonton, at St Andrew's Enfield (his title church). The following year, he was ordained as priest by Graham Leonard, Bishop of London, at St Paul's Cathedral on 23 September 1984. From 1983 to 1987 he was the curate of the parish church of St Andrew's Enfield. After that, he became vicar of Ovenden, an Urban Priority Area parish in the Diocese of Wakefield, from 1987 to 1996. In 1997, Croft was made a member of the Church of England Evangelical Council, which he was a part of until 2000.
1996–2004: Warden (i.e. head) of Cranmer Hall
2004–2008: Archbishops' Missioner and first Team Leader of Fresh Expressions
Croft was appointed by the archbishops of Canterbury and York to help found Fresh Expressions, a joint Church of England and Methodist initiative "to help Christians of any denomination think about ways of starting and growing fresh expressions of church in their area" where a fresh expression is defined as "a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church". In recognition of this work he was awarded the silver Cross of St Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Croft was nominated as the next Bishop of Sheffield, succeeding Jack Nicholls who retired in July 2008, and formally elected by the Chapter of Sheffield Cathedral in November 2008 (and that election having been confirmed in the interim), he was consecrated as a bishop by John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, on 25 January 2009, at York Minster; and started work in the diocese following his formal enthronement on 9 May 2009. This was followed by three Welcome Eucharists celebrated in various locations around the diocese to allow more people to meet the new bishop.
Croft became a member of the House of Lords on 15 July 2013. On 12 April 2016, it was announced that he was to be translated to become Bishop of Oxford in "autumn" 2016; he was duly elected to that See and that election was confirmed at Lambeth Palace on 6 July 2016, at which point Croft became the Bishop of Oxford. He was (re-)introduced to the Upper House as Bishop of Oxford on 19 July 2016. Croft is the first Bishop of Oxford to reside at the new Bishop's Lodge, Kidlington; "for decades" previously, bishops had resided at Linton Road in North Oxford.
Protest at his enthronement
Two survivors of clerical child sexual abuse staged a peaceful protest outside Croft's inauguration as Bishop of Oxford on 30 September 2016. One of them claimed he had told Croft three times in 2012 and 2013 when Croft was formerly Bishop of Sheffield of his rape by a serving priest, but the bishop and other senior figures had failed to respond or take action despite the abuser still being alive. The cover of the protest brochure handed out to the public pictured all six bishops who the survivor claimed had failed to respond, including John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. The survivor commented to the Church Times that he was angry that the C of E had the “nerve” to enthrone bishops after safeguarding complaints had been made against them. He went on to say
This is absolute proof that the Church of England does not truly recognise the profound and long-lasting impact such abuse has on survivors at all.
In 2018 it was reported in media that Croft was being investigated by South Yorkshire Police, alongside Archbishop Sentamu, Bishop Martyn Snow and Bishop Peter Burrows, for failure to respond properly to a report of clerical child abuse. The priest against whom the allegation was made went on to commit suicide the day before he was due in court in June 2017. The Archbishop of York's office said:
It is not an acceptable human response, let alone a leadership response to say “I have heard about a problem, but … it was someone else’s job to report it”.
Matt Ineson, the victim of the alleged abuse, has called for the resignations of Sentamu and Croft. In May 2018, Archbishop Welby declined to discipline Croft, and said he “will take no further action” other than ensuring that Dr Croft received further safeguarding training and understood his responsibilities as a diocesan bishop.
- The Reverend Steven Croft (1983–1984)
- The Reverend Doctor Steven Croft (1984–2009)
- The Right Reverend Doctor Steven Croft (2009–present)
- The Identity of the Individual in the Psalms, Sheffield Academic Press, 1987 ISBN 978-1-85075-021-5
- Growing New Christians, CPAS/Marshall Pickering, 1993 ISBN 978-0-551-02701-5
- Making New Disciples, Marshall Pickering, 1994 ISBN 978-0-551-02862-3
- Emmaus: the Way of Faith (with Stephen Cottrell, John Finney, Felicity Lawson and Robert Warren), NS/CHP, six volumes, 1996; two volumes, 1998; second edition 200–2003.
- Man to Man: Friendship and Faith, Scripture Union, 1999 ISBN 978-1-85999-308-8
- Ministry in Three Dimensions: Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church, DLT, 1999, second edition, 2008 ISBN 978-0-232-52743-8
- Travelling Well: A companion guide to the Christian faith (with Stephen Cottrell), NS/CHP, 2000. ISBN 978-0-7151-4935-5
- The Lord is Risen: Luke 24, Emmaus Bible Resources 1, NS/CHP, 2002 ISBN 978-0-7151-4971-3
- Missionary Journeys, Missionary Church: Acts 13-20, Emmaus Bible Resources 2, NS/CHP 2002 ISBN 978-0-7151-4972-0
- Transforming Communities: Re-Imagining the Church for the 21st Century, DLT, 2002 ISBN 978-0-232-52456-7
- A Theology of Christian Leadership in Focus on Leadership, Foundation for Church Leadership, 2005.
- Learning for Ministry (with Roger Walton), CHP, 2005 ISBN 978-0-7151-4053-6
- Evangelism in a Spiritual Age (with Rob Frost, Mark Ireland, Anne Richards, Yvonne Richmond and Nick Spencer), CHP, 2005 ISBN 978-0-7151-4054-3
- Moving on in a Mission Shaped Church (booklet with George Lings), CHP, 2005 ISBN 978-0-7151-4078-9
- Starting a Fresh Expression (booklet with George Lings and Claire Dalpra), CHP 2006 ISBN 978-0-7151-4096-3
- Listening for Mission (booklet with Bob Hopkins and Freddy Hedley) CHP, 2006 ISBN 978-0-7151-4099-4
- Bishops’ Mission Orders: a beginners’ guide (booklet with Paul Bayes) CHP, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7151-4169-4
- Encouraging fresh expressions (booklet), Fresh Expressions, 2008 ISBN 978-0-9560005-1-4
- The Future of the Parish System: shaping the Church of England for the 21st Century (editor and contributor), CHP, 2006 ISBN 978-0-7151-4034-5
- The Advent Calendar (a novel for adults and children), DLT, 2006 ISBN 978-0-232-52680-6
- Mission-shaped Questions: defining issues for today’s church, (editor and contributor), CHP, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7151-4153-3
- Reflections for Daily Prayer: Advent to 2 before Lent(section on Ecclesiastes), CHP, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7151-4160-1
- Jesus' People - What the church should do next, CHP, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7151-4187-8
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- http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk//section.asp?id=3547&cachefixer=[permanent dead link] Retrieved 25 October 2008.
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- Sherwood, Harriet (30 September 2016). "Survivors of abuse in C of E to protest at bishop of Oxford's inauguration". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- "Sex abuse survivors protest outside Christ Church and accuse Bishop of Oxford of ignoring rape claims". Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- Sherwood, Harriet (26 July 2016). "Senior Anglican clergy accused of failing to act on rape allegations". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- "Abuse survivors' protest at bishop's consecration aided by Chapter". Church Times. 7 October 2016.(subscription required)
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- "Police investigate archbishop for 'failures' over child abuse claims". The Times. 2 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
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- "The Guardian view of abuse in the church: a truly dreadful story". The Guardian. 22 March 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
- "Call for the Resignation of Archbishop John Sentamu and Bishop Steven Croft". Thinking Anglicans. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
- "UK news in brief: Welby 'will take no further action' against Croft over abuse case". Church Times. 18 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
| Warden of Cranmer Hall
|Church of England titles|
| Bishop of Sheffield
| Bishop of Oxford