Birmingham’s anglican bishop has declared he’s here to stay after waving farewell to his Roman Catholic counterpart Vincent Nicholls.
During a visit to the Birmingham Post and Mail’s Fort Dunlop headquarters The Right Reverend David Urquhart said he was going to stay in Birmingham until he retired.
He praised the outgoing archbishop and said: “I think it’s a wonderful choice, I think they’ve been spot on choosing Vincent Nichols in this very important role, which is not just London but national. He’s become a good friend over the past two years, we’ve worked closely together in the faith leaders group, he gave me a good welcome.
“I’m sure he’ll have fond memories of Birmingham. But I have one ambition and that’s to stay in Birmingham as bishop until I have to retire.”
The 56-year-old was in the offices to record an Easter message for the people of Birmingham and also as part of his Bishop on the Beat programme which sees him visit local businesses to see how they are run.
Something which has become an important part of his job in light of the global economic downturn, he said.
“It’s become the universal theme that everyone’s talking about. We need to make sure that we preserve jobs and that we keep the core of jobs going in the region, particularly in small businesses, we don’t want to see huge areas of expertise being wiped out in the West Midlands,” he said.
The bishop, along with the Bishop of Coventry, recently appealed to the Government to find funds to help ailing car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover.
“I’m glad to see that very recently there’s been some movement on the grants and loans for Jaguar Land Rover,” he said. “The automotive industry is one sector of the local economy where I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately.”
Bishop David, who spent 10 years in business before joining the clergy, added: “If I go into a board meeting or a trade union meeting I feel very much at home. I’m often asked by my fellow bishops to talk about economics and the economy and that’s a catch-up because when I learnt economics it was the 1970s and we were talking about three-day weeks and the IMF and countries going bust.”
The bishop also took the chance to talk about another one of his passions, the environment.
“In recent years it’s been very much a consumption-based society, which I’ve been very much a part of,” he said. “I think now we realise we’ve got something very precious that we’ve got to sustain for the future.
“It’s quite ironic that as someone who worked in the oil industry for 10 years that I’m so concerned about the environment. I think it’s one of the things that’s made me aware of how valuable our carbon fuels are.
He also renewed his commitment along with other faith leaders in the city to stamp out gang violence. Something he said the church was making slow but positive progress on.
And he said that the churches of Birmingham would remain united against religious extremism.
“Human beings do get passionate and they do get idealistic and they do put their ideals into practice in an unacceptable way. The faith leaders in Birmingham are quite clear that they are peaceful religions and their founders and scriptures are in that direction and so getting one’s point of view across with violence in any way in anathema to us.”