New Bishop to the Archbishops Announced
The Rt Revd David Urquhart has been announced as the new Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, succeeding Dr Emma Ineson who has been appointed Bishop of Kensington. In this role, he will work directly for both Archbishops and interact closely with the entire College of Bishops. This is a part-time position, a one-year interim role shared with his other part-time role as Assistant Priest for St Mary at Hill in the City of London.
Consecrated in 2000, Bishop Urquhart was the longest-serving of the Church of England bishops when he retired last autumn. The Archbishops paid tribute to “his considerable wisdom, humour and humility … as well as his wealth of experience as a bishop.”
He became the Convenor of the Lords Spiritual in May 2015, and was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG) for services to international relations in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018.
In that same year (2018), however, he was singled out in an official Church Safeguarding Review for a “problematic” handling of a safeguarding case in 2011 because he “lacked adequate knowledge of safeguarding and the capacity to manage the process”.
The safeguarding complaint related to the late Revd Canon Tom Walker who was accused of stripping off his clothes in front of his PA and walking around the vicarage in “various states of arousal” during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Walker told the woman that he had problem with his libido and in order to rectify that he had received medical advice that he should be without his clothes as much as possible. He also advised her not to tell his wife.
In 2015, Canon Walker was issued a Penalty of Rebuke by Consent under the Clergy Discipline Measure by Bishop Urquhart. The clergyman died the following year.
The safeguarding review found that the Bishop’s interview of Canon Walker in 2011 “did not address all elements of the complaint, with the result that he remained unaware of the exact nature of the allegation”. Bishop Urquhart subsequently apologised to the complainant and her husband “for the upset and anguish that you both have suffered as a result of the mistakes I have made in the handling of your complaint”.
On his retirement as Bishop of Birmingham in October 2022, Bishop Urquhart received tribute from many well-wishers, including Asha’s restaurant in the city. The Bishop has appeared in a social media video, promoting the eatery. The restaurant paid its tribute to the retiring bishop, “We’re sure you will all agree that David has been a huge support to the city of Birmingham, but on top of this, he has also been a great friend to all of us at Asha’s.”