The Revd James Halstead has been appointed as the new Principal of the School of Discipleship in the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham.

He replaces David Emerton who is the new Centre Director for the St Mellitus College centre opening in Nottingham in September.

Working in the Discipleship & Ministry team, James will build on the work of David  and the team who pioneered the ‘Real LIFE’ programme of discipleship training to support the ministry of parishes across the diocese. In its first year over 250 people have participated in this 10-week per term course in biblical study and discipleship formation. James will also be responsible for commissioned and authorised lay ministry training, including the new diocesan Reader/LLM training course; also supporting those exploring or preparing for ordained ministries.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the work of God’s church in Southwell & Nottingham as we seek to grow disciples of the Lord Jesus,” said James.

“After 10 years in parish ministry, this is a rare and exciting opportunity to support and encourage churches and congregations to deepen their knowledge and love of the God who creates, saves and transforms us.”

After studying first at university in Nottingham, James worked for seven years for a high street bank based in the North West, before training for ordination in London where he studied for his Masters at Oak Hill Theological College, focusing on biblical studies and writing his thesis on Old Testament narrative material.

He is the Vicar of Mottram-in-Longdendale in the Chester Diocese, where his passion is to see the Bible opened up and at work in people’s lives across a diversity of backgrounds.  James is also a part time Tutor and Lecturer in Theology at St Mellitus College, North West, teaching languages and biblical studies.

James’ role will also include facilitating teaching to help inspire and equip clergy and licensed lay ministers/readers in their further theological and biblical studies, resourcing their ministry and enriching faith.

Bishop Paul said: “This is an excellent appointment at a time when we are seeking to further develop the work of the Discipleship & Ministry Team supporting parishes in the joy and privilege of Growing Disciples of all ages. As well as his gifts in teaching the bible, James will bring valuable parochial experience from working in a diverse parish in Cheshire on the edge of Greater Manchester.”

James is married to Holly (a GP) and they have two school-aged children. Together they enjoy listening to live music and watching modern ballet.