The Rt Revd Nick Baines is the 10th Bishop of Bradford.
Before becoming Bishop of Bradford in 2011, he had been Bishop of Croydon for six years.
Bishop Nick is renowned for his media expertise – he’s an experienced broadcaster and writer, and he blogs and tweets almost daily.
One of his main priorities is how the Church communicates its message. He says, "I’m passionate about Christian engagement in the big wide world – not on our own terms, but on the basis that we get stuck in wherever we can; committed to the world in all its pain and glory. And it’s something about which I think we need to be a bit bolder - and thicker skinned.”
He has a keen interest in music, literature, art, film, theatre and football.
Nick is married to Linda (a health visitor and artist) and they have three adult children: Richard, Melanie and Andrew, and one grandchild.
On his appointment to Bradford, the former Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Tom Butler, said, “Nick Baines is one of the most able and energetic bishops in the Church of England. He is a brilliant communicator and a fine teacher and preacher”.
Bishop Nick was born in Liverpool in 1957, attended Holt Comprehensive School and, in 1980, gained a BA in German & French from Bradford University. Prior to his ordination he was a specialist in modern languages, working briefly in Germany and France and then for four years at GCHQ as a Russian Linguist.
He trained for the ministry at Trinity College, Bristol and was priested in 1988. He served his curacies in the Diocese of Carlisle and then the Diocese of Leicester where he remained as Vicar of Rothley for eight years as well as being Rural Dean of Goscote.
He has had wide parish experience, including city centre, market town, rural village and commuter village.
Before becoming Bishop of Croydon, he had been Archdeacon of Lambeth (Diocese of Southwark) for three years. He chaired the Diocesan Children & Youth Development Group until 2007.
He was elected to the General Synod in 1995 and served for nearly 10 years - on the Board of Mission, Partnership for World Mission and to the Crown Appointments Commission Review Group.
Nick is the English Co-chair of the Meissen Commission (Church of England relations with the Evangelical Church in Germany), represents the Archbishop of Canterbury at international faith conferences and is a member of the House of Bishops’ Europe Panel.
He was a Director of Ecclesiastical Insurance from 2002-2010.
Nick has contributed regularly to Radio 2's Pause for Thought for over a decade (currently on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show). He has 4,500 followers on Twitter, and his blog, 'Musings of a Restless Bishop', has around 10,000 readers each week. The inspiration for his blogs comes from anything currently in the news - from John Lennon to the public understanding of the Bible or Liverpool FC.
He says, "New media offer access to people (like me – a bishop) who might otherwise seem to belong to a remote and mysterious world. They also enable us to engage outside our self-selected safe communities, be present in a space where a different sort of conversation can be had and allow connectivity between people, groups and ideas that in a previous generation might not have been possible, even if desirable."
He says that new media are of equal value in a local as well as a national context: "Local people can use the connectedness of social networking and new media forms (such as blogs) to tell stories, challenge prejudices, correct misrepresentation and form a locus of interest, communication and confidence."
His appearances in the media are varied. As well as being regularly asked to comment on topical issues, he has, for example, contributed to a BBC Radio 4 documentary on the spirituality of Bob Dylan, written for the Guardian on the paucity of language teaching in the UK and he’s appeared on Channel 4's 4thoughtv challenging the notion that Christians are 'persecuted' in the UK. He said: "(Let's not) see ourselves as victims, but recognise the amazing freedom we have in (and massive contribution we make to) British society both locally and nationally… and get out there more confidently with the unique gift of Christian faith, service and apologetics."
Bishop Nick has written six books* and his writing and broadcasting style is (according to reviewers) "warm, witty, provocative, insightful and never preachy." Of 'Finding Faith', his autobiographical book, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said, “Here is a book that manages to be lively and profound at the same time. It is honest, funny and challenging - one of those books that makes you remember why it's worthwhile being a Christian”.
He chairs the Sandford St Martin Trust which presents awards for high quality religious programmes and has twice received a commendation himself in the Andrew Cross Awards for religious broadcasting.
Despite his understanding of the media, he has been on the receiving end of distorted reporting himself. When, in 2008, he wrote a book (Why Wish You A Merry Christmas?) in which he questioned the words of some carols, he was subject to an onslaught of "Killjoy Bishop Cancels Christmas" headlines and abusive email.
He says the book was a light-hearted attempt to persuade people to think more about the original Christmas story, which he fears has become confused with pantomime: "I recall a visit I made to a school and asked who were the main characters in the Christmas story and was told Cinderella, Santa Claus and the elves. We have to do something about that confusion.
"I want people to get out there and enjoy themselves and sing carols, I’m not saying anything against that. But what I do want also is for them to think more about what they are saying and doing and reconnect with the original Christmas story.
Speedbumps & Potholes (2004), Marking Time: Reflections on Mark's Gospel for Lent Holy Week and Easter (2005), Hungry for Hope? (2007), Scandal of Grace: The danger of following Jesus' (2008), Finding Faith: Stories of music and life (2008), Why wish you a Merry Christmas? (2009). (Speedbumps & Potholes and Finding Faith have been translated into German.)