The Right Reverend Dr Steven Croft is the Diocesan Bishop (the most senior bishop) of the Church of England’s Diocese of Oxford. His seat is at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. The confirmation of his election to the episcopal area was on 06 July 2016, and he was welcomed in a ‘service of inauguration’ at Christ Church Cathedral on 30 September 2016.
Born in 1957, Steven attended Heath Grammar School in Halifax and studied classics and theology at Worcester College, Oxford, graduating in 1980. He trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham, earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in 1984 with his thesis ‘The identity of the Individual in the Psalms’. Steven was previously the Bishop of Sheffield from 2008 until 2016. He is married to Ann and has four children.
The modern Diocese of Oxford covers, broadly speaking, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire, with a handful of parishes in Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, and Warwickshire.
Because of its large size, the Diocese of Oxford is divided into four smaller ‘episcopal areas’, each overseen by an ‘Area Bishop’. In some instances, these ‘episcopal areas’ are larger than entire dioceses elsewhere in the Church of England.
The Diocese of Oxford at the present day contains the most number of parishes of any diocese in England (621) and also the most church buildings (815), of which 475 are grade 1 or 2* listed buildings.
The Bishop’s episcopal seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Christ, in the City of Oxford. The church was elevated to cathedral status in 1546, and uniquely among English dioceses, it also serves as the chapel of Christ Church, University of Oxford.
In addition to his diocese-wide and national responsibilities, the Bishop of Oxford has pastoral care of the two deaneries of Oxford and Cowley, which cover the City of Oxford, right in the heart of the diocese.