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Bishop of Manchester awarded doctorate for research into rural church

BOMThe Bishop of Manchester, The Rt Revd David Walker, is to receive a doctorate from the Bishop of Manchester on receiving his degree at the University of WarwickUniversity of Warwick on Friday 23rd of January. The PhD marks his extensive and significant research focussing on how people belong to their churches, particularly in rural Anglicanism.

Dr Walker’s published research covers a range of highly regarded studies including topics such as: rural church and society; communion by extension; Harvest Festivals; personal prayer; the role of cathedral carol services; and occasional church goers

His research supervisor at the University of Warwick The Reverend Canon Professor Leslie Francis from the University of Warwick’s Centre for Education Studies said:

“Bishop David is a pioneer, in whose footsteps a growing number of men and women are now walking in order to inform and improve their Christian ministry through research-led reflective practice. Both the academic world and the churches to which they belong gain from their contributions. I am delighted that Warwick offers a route through which such study can be supported and recognised, especially through programmes of research that lead to the awarding of higher degrees.”

Bishop David said:

“What began as a short project for a three month sabbatical soon turned into an ongoing commitment to see that my work within the Church of England is informed by continuing engagement with the world of academic research. My research findings have already had a major impact on the key decisions I have to take as a bishop, and they help me to inform and support the many churches and clergy I work with. I’m very grateful to the University of Warwick, and especially to Professor Leslie Francis, my supervisor, for the support and encouragement that has enabled me to reach the point of being awarded a PhD for my contribution to research in how people belong with their churches.”

Bishop David Walker was enthroned as Bishop of Manchester at Manchester Cathedral on St Andrew's Day, 30 November 2013.

Born in 1957, Bishop David grew up in Greater Manchester and was educated at Manchester Grammar School and King's College, Cambridge. After a period of study at Queen's College, Birmingham he was ordained in 1983. His career began with a curacy at St Mary Handsworth, after which he was Team Vicar at Maltby, then Bramley before becoming Bishop of Dudley in 2000.

David is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Glyndwr University. He has served on the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights panel for the College of Policing and has also served on a similar body for the Homes and Communities Agency. He has particular experience in Social Housing, having served on the Board of the National Housing Federation from 1996 to 2002.

He currently chairs the Church of England council that works with Religious (Monastic) Communities; is a trustee of the Church Urban Fund; and is a member of the Church of England Ministry Council. He is also a Church Commissioner, elected to serve until 2018. He also chairs the Independent Ethics Committee for Greater Manchester Police.

Notes for editors

Photography of Bishop David in his academic robes will be available from Monday 26th January.

If you wish to speak to Bishop David on the day he receives his doctorate (Friday 23rd Jan) then please contact Peter Dunn at the University of Warwick at the details below to see what may be possible on the day. NB the University does have an ISDN line that may be available for radio interviews. If you wish to arrange an interview with Bishop David before or after that day please contact:

Ann Mummery
Communications and Events Manager
Diocese of Manchester
Tel: 0161 828 1470
Mobile: 07836 224444

 For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy, University of Warwick, email:
Tel: +44 (0)24 76 523708 Mobile/Cell: +44 (0)7767 655860

PR11 21st January 2015