Welcome service for new Rector of Leeds Minster and Bishop of Richmond

The Revd Canon Sam Corley will be licensed as Rector Designate of Leeds Minster on Tuesday 6 October. At the same service, the new Bishop of Richmond, the Rt Revd Paul Slater, will be welcomed to the city. (Paul  Slater is covering the work of the Diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, in the Leeds area).

Sam Corley was formerly Precentor of Bradford Cathedral, where he had been since 2011. He was also Senior Chaplain to the University of Bradford and Faith Advisor to the Lord Mayor of Bradford.

Clergy and lay people from across Leeds will be present at the service, along with civic dignitaries including the Lord-Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, and the Lord Mayors of Leeds and of Bradford.

Bishop Nick says, “I am pleased beyond words that Sam Corley is to lead Leeds Minster and help shape the Church of England's engagement with this great city. He brings experience and great skill to this new ministry and I look forward to his strong contribution to life in the city and the churches."

Sam Corley says, "I’m delighted to take up this new role. There are huge opportunities for the life and witness of the Minster at the heart of the city and as the principal church in the Leeds Episcopal Area.  The parish enjoys a unique position on the edge – between prosperity and poverty, between the worshipping minority and the unchurched majority and it has a great contribution to make, especially as the city reflects upon what it means to aspire to be ‘Best City’ by 2030.

“Above all I am passionate about people discovering the hope that God makes available to us through Jesus Christ. Too often this is reduced to something offered just to individuals: I long to see whole communities, cities and nations explore something of the riches of what is offered to us through Christ.”

Sam read theology at the University of Durham and taught history in Surrey before training for the ministry at St John’s College Nottingham. In 2004 he was ordained in the Diocese of Blackburn, where he became a parish priest and Assistant Diocesan Missioner.

He says he’s comfortable in a wide range of worship contexts - including leading worship for 2000 scouts in a cow shed at the Great Yorkshire Showground. He enjoys working with people of all faiths, backgrounds and ages and has lots of experience of working with young people, having led over 30 residential holidays for teenagers. 

Sam sits on numerous committees in the Diocese and also has some national responsibilities. Since 2009 he has been a Bishops’ Advisor on Bishops’ Advisory Panels – the process by which candidates are selected for ordination. More recently he has been an Executive Member and Director of the Association of English Cathedrals and has delivered training in governance for clergy and lay people who are new to their roles in leading Cathedrals.  

Sam is married to Claire, who is herself training for ordained ministry within the Church of England, and they have three young children, Nathanael (9), Martha (7) and Micah (5).  Having spent much of his childhood working on a farm, Sam also has a deep love of the countryside and nature, and the family has hens, a dog and “an ever-increasing colony of guinea pigs”.

The service, to which all are welcome, will take place on Tuesday 6 October at 7.30pm at Leeds Minster.

Bishop Nick Baines will license Sam Corley, and Bishop Paul Slater will preach. The music will include steel pans played by children from St Peter’s school and songs sung by Jimmy Lawrence, a professionally trained singer from St George's, Leeds who is training for ordination. The Minster Choir will sing music by Parry and Ireland and will  be joined for the service by boys and adults from Bradford Cathedral Choir.

PHOTO: Paula Brown of Ollievision Photography

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