John Packer

John Richard Packer (born 10 October 1946) is a retired British Anglican bishop. He was the only Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, serving from the renaming of the diocese from Ripon in 2000 to his 2014 retirement (prior to his former diocese's merge into the Diocese of Leeds at Easter that year).[1]

John Packer
Bishop of Ripon and Leeds
ChurchChurch of England
DioceseRipon and Leeds
In office2000–2014
PredecessorDavid Young, Bishop of Ripon
SuccessorMerged into the Diocese of Leeds
Other post(s)Bishop of Warrington (1996–2000)
Consecration13 November 1996
by David Hope
Personal details
Born (1946-10-10) 10 October 1946 (age 74)
Blackburn, Lancashire, England
ResidenceHollin House, Weetwood
Barbara Jack
(m. 1971)
Children1 daughter & 2 sons
Alma materKeble College, Oxford

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Blackburn, Lancashire, firstly educated in Manchester Grammar School, Packer graduated from Keble College, Oxford, with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in modern history in 1967 and from Ripon Hall, Oxford, with a Bachelor and an Oxford Master of Arts (MA Oxon) in theology in 1975.

Ordained ministryEdit

Packer became a deacon in 1970 and was Curate of St Helier, in Southwark, until 1973. Ordained as priest in 1971, he worked in Abingdon in Berkshire (and then Oxfordshire) from 1973 to 1977. Between 1973 and 1975, he was Tutor at Ripon Hall, and between 1975 and 1977 at Ripon College Cuddesdon. In the following, Packer was Vicar of Wath-upon-Dearne with Adwick-upon-Dearne until 1986, and from 1986 to 1991 team rector at Sheffield Manor.[2] He was twice Rural Dean, firstly of Wath from 1983 to 1986, and secondly of Attercliffe in 1990 and 1991. Until 1996, he was Archdeacon of West Cumberland, having been also priest-in-charge in Bridekirk in 1995 and 1996.

Episcopal ministryEdit

Packer was consecrated a bishop (alongside Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester) during a service at York Minster,[3] by David Hope, Archbishop of York, on 13 November 1996.[4] He was suffragan Bishop of Warrington until 2000, when he was appointed Bishop of Ripon and Leeds – he was the first (and as it turned out, only) bishop with that title, which had been changed from "Bishop of Ripon" only upon his predecessor's resignation. He was installed at Ripon Cathedral on 16 July 2000.[5]

In 2006, he was called to the House of Lords as a Lord Spiritual. He was the Bishops' Parliamentary Spokesperson for immigration & asylum; urban affairs; and welfare reform.[6]

Packer used his maiden speech in the House of Lords on 14 December 2006 to criticise the government's policy on asylum seekers, claiming that under the current policy refugees are being "made destitute, terrorised and imprisoned".[7] His interest in the asylum issue materialised again in February 2007 when he appealed to the Home Office to halt the deportation of a woman, Aseng Nasoba, and her six children back to the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying that he feared for the family's safety if they were returned to their home country.

In 2012 he was instrumental in defeating the coalition government's plan to put a cap on benefits given to families, when his amendment to exclude child benefit from the plan was passed in the House of Lords.[8] He retired as Bishop of Ripon and Leeds on 31 January 2014.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Since 1971, he has been married to Barbara Jack. They have one daughter (Catherine) and two sons.[9]



  1. ^ a b Bishop of Ripon and Leeds announces retirement Archived 2 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ The Times, Tuesday 5 November 1985; pg. 16; Issue 62287; col D to Sheffield team Vicar Right Reverend John Richard Packer
  3. ^ "From brown envelope to purple shirt". Church Times (#6980). 22 November 1996. p. 13. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 14 April 2015 – via UK Press Online archives.
  4. ^ Diocese of Chester — Bishops (Accessed 6 May 2017)
  5. ^ Ripon Diocese — Senior Clergy Archived 18 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ The Church in Parliament
  7. ^ "". Retrieved 14 December 2006.
  8. ^ "What is the role of bishops in UK politics?", BBC News, 25 January 2012
  9. ^ "Packer, Rt Rev. John Richard, (born 10 Oct. 1946), Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, 2000–14; an Honorary Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Newcastle, since 2014". Who's Who 2021. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2021.

External linksEdit