Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 12:24 UK

Bishop of Durham Tom Wright to stand down

The Bishop of Durham
Dr Wright says he is "very sad" about standing down

The Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, has announced he is quitting the post at the end of August.

The 61-year-old, who has held the high-profile position since 2003, plans to take up an academic appointment at the University of St Andrews in Fife.

He said he was finding it difficult to balance the demanding role with other interests like writing and teaching.

Dr Wright, the 71st Bishop of Durham, described the decision to step down as the hardest of his life.

He has written several books on faith and religion and has agreed to become research professor of New Testament and early Christianity at St Andrews.

'Complex demands'

He said: "This has been the hardest decision of my life.

"But my continuing vocation to be a writer, teacher and broadcaster, for the benefit, I hope, of the wider world and Church, has been increasingly difficult to combine with the complex demands and duties of a diocesan bishop.

"I am very sad about this, but the choice has become increasingly clear."

During his time as Bishop of Durham, Dr Wright has been outspoken on several issues.

In 2008, he was one of several bishops who attacked the government for creating a "sense of hopelessness" in England.

In the same year, he also condemned an anti-gay movement in the Church of England as "deeply offensive".

A new bishop will be selected later this year by the Crown Nominations Commission. Its choice will be sent to the prime minister and Queen for approval.

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