Principal of Ridley to be next Bishop of Birmingham

Share this page

31st August 2023

Principal of Ridley to be next Bishop of Birmingham

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Dr Michael Volland, Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge, for election as Bishop of Birmingham, in succession to The Right Reverend David Urquhart, following his retirement.

The Revd Dr Michael Volland

Michael will be consecrated on Thursday 30 November, the Feast of St. Andrew. He will pay homage to the King and be installed in Birmingham in the new year.

Of his nomination as Bishop of Birmingham, Michael said,

“I am excited to be following the call of God to serve the city and region as the next Bishop of Birmingham. The family and I are looking forward to making our home in Birmingham, getting to know and love people and communities, and to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ alongside Christians across the Church of England Birmingham. Please pray for us as we prepare to move into God’s hopeful future.”

Michael will continue to lead Ridley through the Michaelmas term. Ridley’s Academic Dean, the Revd Dr Rob McDonald, will serve as Acting Principal during the interregnum, ably supported by the wider staff team. A process to appoint the next Principal of Ridley Hall has been carefully planned and will begin soon.

Reflecting on his time as Principal of Ridley Hall, Michael said, “It has been a huge privilege to lead Ridley Hall these past seven years as Principal and I will be sad to leave behind all that has been good and life giving. I would like to express my gratitude to excellent colleagues in the staff team at Ridley and in the wider Cambridge Theological Federation, whose love, care, commitment and good humour make both Ridley and the Federation wonderful places in which to work, worship and learn.”

“The Lord has been faithful throughout the past seven years. A good deal of ground has been covered and much has been achieved. Ridley has a clear mission to train leaders for the Church, and an attractive confidence in its identity as a residential TEI in the evangelical tradition, characterised by graciousness and generosity of spirit.”

“During the past seven years, by the grace of God, a new library, laundry, and accommodation have been constructed, and disability access to our site has been created. We navigated the disruption resulting from the pandemic and worked with CTF colleagues to reimagine and reshape the Federation. Ridley has driven significant innovation in lay-ministry training and forged a solid reputation as a college taking the lead on key developments in the theological education sector. On a personal note, it has been a privilege to oversee the retirement of long-serving members of the tutorial team and to recruit world-class successors.”

“I would like to thank the members of the Board of Trustees for their consistent and unwavering support, affirmation and encouragement throughout my seven years as Principal. Please be assured of my prayers as Ridley continues its work of training leaders for the Church, and especially for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as a new Principal is sought.”

Ridley’s Chair of Trustees, Mark Spelman, said,

"Michael has been an outstanding Principal at Ridley Hall and we are delighted that the Diocese of Birmingham and the wider Church will benefit from his leadership, service and calling to this new role.”

“Over the past seven years we have valued Michael’s deep faith in Jesus Christ, combined with his ability to think strategically, cope with financial pressures, and make change happen. Above all, it is the importance he attaches to on the ground presence, meeting people where they are, and relating to a wide cross section of people which makes him a special leader for the 21st century.”

“Ridley Hall is very grateful for Michael’s leadership as Principal, and we look forward with confidence to building on his legacy as we seek a new Principal. We know that Michael will bring his energy, passion and faith to the benefit of the Diocese of Birmingham and we are excited by all that God has in store for both Birmingham and Ridley Hall as we look to the future.”

Michael took up his current role as Principal of Ridley Hall, in January 2017. Before moving to Cambridge, he taught mission, evangelism and church planting to ordinands at Cranmer Hall in Durham, alongside leading the East Durham Mission Project, working with parishes in former mining communities as well as serving as Area Dean of Easington. Michael was educated at Northumbria University, King’s College London, and Durham University. He trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.

During his time in Cambridge, Michael has served as President of the Cambridge Theological Federation and as Chair of the national TEI Principals Steering Group. He is currently a member of the Ministry Council of the Church of England. While ministering in the northeast, Michael was chaplain to Durham Army Cadet Force. He was ordained in 2006 and served his title at Gloucester Cathedral.

Michael ministered in two parish contexts for six years before being ordained, serving as a youth and children’s worker. His Masters degree, from Kings College London, focused on youth ministry and theological education. Michael’s doctoral research at Durham University was published by SPCK in 2015 as The Minister as Entrepreneur: Leading and Growing the Church in an Age of Rapid Change. His other published work is in the areas of ecclesiology, fresh expressions and leadership, most recently, Accepted in the Beloved: Practical Wisdom for Christian Leaders.