A new Bishop of Carlisle won’t be appointed before 2025 after the Crown Nominations Commission failed to decide on a suitable candidate.
In a statement, the Archbishop of York Most Rev Stephen Cottrell expressed his disappointment:
“At the conclusion of a lengthy process of discernment, culminating in two days of interviews on 13 and 14 December, the Crown Nominations Commission considering the nomination of the next Bishop of Carlisle has, very sadly, not been able reach the level of consensus required to nominate a new Diocesan Bishop.
“Over the course of the next months, the Crown Nominations Commission will need to reflect, and make a decision about which stage it wishes to re-commence the discernment process. This is not likely to be before the Spring of 2025.
“Bishop Rob Saner-Haigh, the Bishop of Penrith, will continue serving as acting Diocesan Bishop alongside the senior leadership team in the Diocese of Carlisle.
“Please continue to hold the Diocese of Carlisle and the discernment of the Crown Nominations Commission in your prayers.”
The previous Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcombe, retired at the end of August after 13 years in the role. He had served as suffragan (assistant) Bishop of Penrith for seven years before taking up the role as Diocesan Bishop in 2009.
The voting members of the Crown Nominations Commission for a vacant see (Bishopric) are the two Archbishops (or a Diocesan Bishop acting on their behalf), 6 members elected from the Vacancy in See Committee of the Diocese and 6 ‘Central Members’ elected from the General Synod. The Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments and the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary are non-voting members of the Commission.
Under the Standing Orders of the General Synod, if the Commission, having completed its considerations on a vacancy, does not select a name for submission to the Crown, it may direct that the process for filling the vacancy is to recommence at the stage which it specifies.
The Diocese of Carlisle serves 240 parishes across Cumbria.