Bishop of Liverpool

The 8th Bishop of Liverpool

Bishop Paul Bayes Biography

Bishop Paul comes from Bradford, West Yorkshire. A churchwarden’s son, his spiritual and social life in the late 1950s and 1960s was formed by Sunday school, church choir and youth group. Like many teenagers, he decided in 1968 that all this was a waste of time, and in his University years he left the Christian faith behind and investigated a whole range of other spiritual and political options before re-encountering Jesus Christ as a living person, and committing himself to serve God within the ministry of the Church. He trained for ministry at an ecumenical college, Queen’s Birmingham. The training involved an exchange with the Roman Catholic Oscott College, where the exchange programme was led by their vice-principal, Fr Patrick Kelly, who later came to Merseyside as Archbishop of Liverpool.

Paul met Kate at University and they married in 1976, so their ruby wedding is beginning to appear on the horizon.

Ordained in 1979, Paul served as a curate in Whitley Bay, Tyneside, before moving to London as a University chaplain. Here the emphasis was on building the church through small groups of disciples, students and others,  committed to serving God through social action and involvement and to struggling for justice and peace. Paul served as national co-chair of Christian CND and he and Kate were heavily involved in what was then called the Ecology Party, now the Greens.

After five years in London Paul and Kate moved to High Wycombe, a multicultural town north of London, where Paul ministered as Team Vicar and then Team Rector. By this time all three children had arrived – Honour, Sam & Philippa.

Paul and his colleagues in St John’s High Wycombe decided to multiply their Sunday congregations and to plant a new church, “Family Focus”, aiming to bring the gospel to a new group of people alongside the existing work. This work flourished and the emphasis on finding appropriate ways to plant churches has remained central to Paul’s ministry since then.

In 1995 the family moved to Totton, on the edge of Southampton, where Paul served as Team Rector. Here again the inherited life of the churches was complemented by church planting, and a church based on small groups (a “cell church”) began to  relate to parts of the community that other forms of church couldn’t or didn’t reach. The church also set up a range of youth initiatives and a very early version of street pastors in partnership with the local police and social services.

After almost ten years in Totton, and twenty-five years in pastoral ministry, Paul moved to work for the Archbishop’s Council in London as the Church of England’s National Mission and Evangelism advisor. This job involved developing and sharing ideas on the right way to shape the church for its mission in the new millennium. At this time the report “Mission-shaped church” was published and people began to work together in building fresh expressions of church, nowhere more so than in Liverpool Diocese. Alongside this work on the emerging church, Paul was involved in resourcing traditional church life through the national Weddings Project and through evangelistic initiatives such as Back to Church Sunday.

In 2010 Paul was invited to move to St Alban's Diocese as Bishop of Hertford. His episcopal area covered Hertfordshire and North-east Barnet, a very varied community including the towns of Watford and Stevenage as well as commuter towns and villages and some deeply rural areas too. 

In 2014 Paul accepted an invitation to be installed as the Eighth Bishop of Liverpool. He was installed at Liverpool Cathedral in November 2014.

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