New Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Initial Ministerial Education 2
23 April 2021
The Revd Dr Michael Fox has been appointed as the new Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Initial Ministerial Education 2 to foster and support vocations in the Diocese of Norwich.
Michael’s career before ordination has been within some of the leading institutions in British drama. He was the first Literary Manager at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester before becoming an award-winning BBC radio drama producer and the founding director of the Commonwealth Film Festival. He has also been a freelance theatre and opera director, with a stint working at Paris Opera and the Wexford and Buxton opera festivals. In his later career he ran media production companies in Manchester producing content for the BBC, Open University and schools.
After a 25-year career in drama and broadcasting, Michael experienced a vivid and clear call to ordination as an Anglican priest. As part of his formation and training for the priesthood, he began a PhD at Birmingham University (awarded Summer 2019) in the broad field of theology and culture, intended to help him reflect on the relationship between his professional career and his new vocation.
Since ordination he has served his title in the parish church of Bollington, near his home in Macclesfield, before being appointed as Priest in Charge of St. Paul’s Macclesfield. He was also appointed as research chaplain to the Bishop of Stockport, Libby Lane, shortly after she became the first woman to be consecrated bishop in the Church of England. For the past three years he has also served as Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Chester, a role he has absolutely loved and which has pointed the way to his move to the Diocese of Norwich as Diocesan Director of Ordinands & Initial Ministerial Education (DDO & IME2).
About starting his new role in Norfolk Michael said: “I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of working with a fantastic team in support of those discerning the shape of their future ministry and to be supervising the formation of those who will be the next generation of leaders in the church. To embark on the process of exploring a vocation, then perhaps to enter training and priestly formation, is to undertake a great adventure but it is also a time of great vulnerability and I look forward to accompanying those who are seeking to follow Christ in this way as he leads, upholds and inspires them.
“I have been longing to come and live in Norfolk for a number of years and have known parts of it very well since childhood. Both my wife Virginia and I have ancestors in Norfolk going back into the mists of time. My great-grandfather Walter left Great Yarmouth 150 years ago and now it really feels as if I am coming back home.”
Speaking about the appointment, the Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, said: “The Revd Dr Michael Fox will be joining the diocese in June to take on this crucial role in working with those exploring God’s call to ordained ministry and supporting them in their first years in ministry.
“Michael’s appointment comes as a result of Canon David Foster’s impending retirement this summer after almost nine years with the diocese. David has played a crucial role in helping us respond to the challenge of increasing vocations to ordained ministry. There will be further opportunity to pay tribute to David and wish him well in retirement prior to his departure in July.
“This renamed role (from BOOIT to DDO and IME2) is a key priority for the diocese, and a post that all dioceses are required to fill, as the encouragement and nurturing of vocations to ordained ministry is crucial to our vision for God’s work. We look forward to welcoming Michael to the diocese and to all that he will bring to the mission and ministry of God’s church in this place.”
Michael and Virginia have two adult children – Alice, a maths teacher and Will, a post-graduate musician.
Michael enjoys running (looking forward to some flat running after the hills of the Peak District) and walking, and also loves messing about in boats. He has written a number of plays for stage and radio, is the author of a book of poetry, The Poetic Landscape (Fairweather Press) originally written to accompany artist Anne Lever’s exhibition of abstract landscape paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery & Museum, Chester, and an Easter musical, Beelzebub and His Spectacular Travelling Show.