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'God is no little old lady' says next Bishop of Kirkstall

by Donna Birrell
Arun Arora.jpg - Banner image
Arun Arora, Facebook.

The next Bishop of Kirkstall says he isn't concerned about recent reports that congregations in the Church of England will have dwindled to zero in 40 years time.

Rev Canon Arun Arora, who is currently vicar of St Nicholas Church in Durham is one of two new Bishops announced by the church earlier today. He'll become one of five Episcopal Area Bishops in the Diocese of Leeds.

Speaking to Premier Christian News about the new challenges he will face, he also reflected on recent research by Dr John Hayward at the University of South Wales, which suggests the Church of England is in terminal decline :

"I'm not too concerned by some of that research, it reminds me of those newspapers that used to write about the extinction of the church. The newspapers that used to write about that are no longer here and yet, somehow, here we are. I think it's worth reminding ourselves that across the globe Christianity is still growing, that we are a small part in all our different denominations of a global family of Christ. So I'm not worried. I'm not fearful. I'm confident that God is on the move. I'm confident that the Holy Spirit is at work in the people of God. I'm looking forward to exploring that, to being part of that, to working alongside people, rather than trying to help God across the road like a little old lady."

Rev Arun, who's 50, worked as a solicitor after graduation and began training for ministry in 2004. He served as Director of Communications for the Archbishop of York and was ordained priest in 2008.

In 2010, Rev Arun was appointed Team Leader of Pioneer Ministries, Wolverhampton, in the Diocese of Lichfield. In 2012, he became the Director of Communications for the National Church Institutions.

He became Vicar of St Nicholas Church, Durham, in 2017, and was appointed Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral in 2021.

The 72 Anglican parishes in the Leeds Episcopal Area embrace a wide range of spiritualties and contain 32 church schools under the leadership of the Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev Nick Baines.

Speaking to Premier just after the announcement of his appointment as Bishop of Kirkstall, Arun Arora said :

"It's really good to be here in Leeds and it's an absolute joy and a privilege to be here in this city where God's on the move. I'm looking forward to joining in and all that the Holy Spirit is doing in this city. I think God is calling me to be here. There is a sense of excitement about what is to come and what God is doing."

In a separate announcement today, Rev Canon Rob Saner-Haigh, who is currently Residentiary Canon Director of Mission and Ministry in the Diocese of Newcastle, was appointed Bishop of Penrith in the Diocese of Carlisle. 

Dear Lord,
We pray for Rev Arun and Rev Rob as they begin this new chapter of their lives.
May their faithful leadership inspire and encourage more people to come to know your kingdom.
In Jesus' name,
Amen. 

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