The Revd Dr Steve Benford, who was Vicar of St Luke’s, York, from 2004 to 2014, is to be the next Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand, it was announced at the weekend.
British-born Steven Benford worked as a doctor in New Zealand in the 1980s and 90s and met his wife Lorraine there.
Steve trained with NEOC and was ordained in 2000, serving as Curate in Northallerton and Kirby Sigston while he worked as a doctor at The Friarage Hospital, Northallerton.
Throughout his time at St Luke’s he continued to work two days each week as an anaesthetist at The Friarage.
In 2014 Steve left both Yorkshire and medicine behind when he became Vicar of St Joseph The Worker, Northolt, London, where he is also a Bishops’ Advisor for Ministry, a new incumbents’ ministry mentor and spiritual director.
Making the announcement, Archbishop Philip Richardson welcomed Steve’s appointment.
“I look forward to welcoming Steven back to Aotearoa New Zealand.”
“His experience of balancing vocations in the service of others will be invaluable as he leads the clergy and people of Southland and Otago to develop creative ways of serving their communities in the Spirit of Christ.”
Archbishop Philip recently met with Bishop-elect Steven in London. The new bishop describes himself as a ‘people person’.
“Steven is a very warm and engaging priest with a heart for mission,” said Archbishop Philip.
Steve looks forward to returning to Otago and Southland, which he remembers as the most beautiful part of New Zealand. He goes with commitment to find where God is already at work, and to look for where the church is offering loving service to the community.
“My question is, how much is the church seeing itself as serving the community in which it is placed?” he says.
“That might be in the form of foodbanks, care for the homeless, or even offering practical help to people on farms and in neighbourhoods where our churches are located.”
“I think our challenge is to engage in the love Christ has for the world, and to make that real in the community.”
The Revd Dr Steven Benford’s ordination as Bishop of Dunedin will take place in St Paul's Cathedral Church, Dunedin in September 2017.