The Rt Revd Patrick Harris, 9th Bishop of Southwell, has died, aged 86.

The death has been announced of the Rt Reverend Patrick Harris, the 9th Bishop of Southwell between 1988 and 1999, who died peacefully on 26th December following a short illness.

Born in 1934, Patrick was a man of deep faith since his time as a young officer in the army, he studied law in Oxford and went on to train for ordination, serving his curacy at St Ebbe’s also in Oxford. Patrick then spent 17 years serving the mission of the church in Argentina, with a close engagement in church planting and social development, especially amongst the Wichi people. In 1968, Bishop Patrick married Valerie Pilbrow. In 1969 he was appointed Archdeacon of Salta in northwest Argentina before being ordained to the episcopate in 1974 to become Bishop of Northern Argentina.

Patrick returned to England in 1980, to become Rector of St John the Baptist, Kirkheaton, a large parish in Huddersfield, then in 1986 was appointed Secretary of the Partnership World Mission during which time he travelled extensively overseas in supporting churches in mission. In 1988 he was appointed Bishop of Southwell, a post he held for eleven years until his retirement in 1999. He continued to be very active in ministry, including serving as an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Gloucester after moving to settle in Cheltenham. Patrick leaves his wife Valerie, daughter Rachel and sons Jonny and David.

On hearing the news of Bishop Patrick’s death, the current Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams said

“Bishop Patrick is held in deep affection by many across this diocese and in the wider Church. His ministry was marked by a joyful commitment to Christ and gospel growth – in lives and in churches – as well as his pastoral heart and vision for the unique mission of every local church. He never ceased praying daily for this diocese too.

Above all, the lasting impression of Patrick’s ministry in this diocese and in his retirement was his prayerful and gracious resolve to make Christ known and as an encourager of those new to faith. He remained an evangelist at heart and had no greater joy than seeing people come to Christ. His transparent kindness and spiritual insight, rooted in Scripture and prayer, was an inspiration to many, not only in his teaching and episcopal leadership, but also in his daily life. In all this, Valerie was a tremendous support and co-partner in the gospel – together throughout their ministry they have also had a special care for the marginalized and people with disabilities.

In due time there will be a service of Thanksgiving for Bishop Patrick’s life and ministry in Southwell Minister.