Alan Smith (bishop)

Alan Smith
Bishop of St Albans
Bishop Alan Smith 2011.jpg
Smith in August 2011
Diocese Diocese of St Albans
In office 2009–present
Predecessor Christopher Herbert
Other posts area Bishop of Shrewsbury (2001–2009)
Archdeacon of Stoke (1997–2001)
Ordination 1981 (deacon)
1982 (priest)
by Geoffrey Paul
Consecration December 2001
by George Carey
Personal details
Born (1957-02-14) 14 February 1957 (age 63)
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Residence Abbey Gate House, St Albans
Alma mater University of Birmingham

Alan Gregory Clayton Smith (born 14 February 1957) is a British Anglican bishop. Since 2009, he has been the Bishop of St Albans.[1] From 2001 to 2009, he served as the area Bishop of Shrewsbury.[2]

Early life

Smith was born on 14 February 1957,[3] to Frank Eric Smith and Rosemary Clayton Smith.[4] His family is originally from Trowbridge and Westbury, Wiltshire. He was educated at Trowbridge Grammar School for Boys.

Smith studied theology at the University of Birmingham, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and a Master of Arts (MA) degree.[5] His master's thesis was titled 'The Poetic Art of the Hebrew Prophets'.[citation needed] He undertook postgraduate research at the University of Wales, Bangor, and graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.[3][5] He trained for the priesthood at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.[5]

Ordained ministry

After ordination as a deacon at Petertide 1981 (on 28 June in Bradford Cathedral)[6] and as a priest the Petertide following (27 June 1982 at Christ Church, Skipton) — both times by Geoffrey Paul, Bishop of Bradford,[7] he began his career as assistant curate at St Lawrence and St Paul Pudsey.[8] In 1982 he was ordained a priest at Christ Church, Skipton. In 1984 he took up the post as chaplain of the Lee Abbey Community near Lynton in North Devon where he had particular responsibility for mission and the creative arts. In 1989 he was appointed as the Diocesan Missioner and Executive Secretary of the Board for Mission and Unity for the Diocese of Lichfield[9] and finally in 1997 (before his ordination as a bishop)[10] Archdeacon of Stoke.[4] While archdeacon he chaired the North Staffordshire Faiths in Friendship. He was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England from 1999.

Episcopal ministry

He was consecrated a bishop by George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury at Westminster Abbey[11] on 6 December 2001,[12] becoming the Bishop of Shrewsbury (one of the suffragan sees in the Diocese of Lichfield). He was chair of the Shropshire Strategic Partnership from 2006–2009. and was a member of the Rural Bishops' Panel from 2006–2009. In 2002 he completed his PhD as an external student of the University of Wales (Bangor).[4] For Lent 2006 Smith committed himself to living on the minimum wage.[13]

His election as Bishop of St Albans by the College of Canons of the Cathedral took place on 13 February 2009, and the confirmation of his election followed on 31 March.[14] Smith's inauguration took place on 19 September 2009.[15]

From 2009 to 2011 he was joint chairman of the Anglican Methodist Working Party on the Ecclesiology of Emerging Expressions of Church which produced the report Fresh Expression in the Mission of the Church (2012). For the centenary of the newly reconfigured Diocese of St Albans in 2014 he wrote Saints and Pilgrims in the Diocese of St Albans (2013).

On 4 November 2013 he took his seat in the House of Lords as one of the Lords Spiritual. He has spoken on a wide range of subjects in Parliament with a particular focus on rural matters, agriculture, housing, welfare, and problem gambling. He is President of the Rural Coalition.


Smith is concerned about fixed odds gambling machines which fuel problem gambling, leading to people losing their homes, their savings and sometimes taking their own lives. Smith blames the UK government for not limiting the amount people can gamble on those machines to £2, Smith stated the government delay was out of step with, “politicians and campaigners [who] are united in seeking the earliest possible introduction of the maximum £2 stake for FOBTs which will alleviate some of the devastating consequences of people addicted to gambling on them, some who can lose their homes and savings to them and then take their lives in desperation. Bookmakers taking huge profits and football clubs taking sponsorship from gambling and leaving the NHS to pick up the bill and families to face grief is privatising profit and nationalising consequences. It has to stop.” Smith also stated, “I am not anti-business. I am pro-victims. I am angry about impunity.”[16]


In 2010, Smith was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity (DD) degree by the University of Birmingham.[5]

Selected works

He has contributed chapters to Changing Rural Life (2004) and Celebrating Community: God's Gift for Today's World (2006). He has written Growing up in Multi-faith Britain: Explorations in Youth, Ethnicity and Religion (2007), God-Shaped Mission: A Perspective from the Rural Church (2008), and co-authored The Reflective Leader (2011). He was joint editor of Faith and the Future of the Countryside (2012).


Smith in procession to St Albans cathedral in 2010.


  1. ^ Number 10 – Diocese of St Albans (archived)
  2. ^ Anglican Communion
  3. ^ a b "About Alan Smith". Saints and Pilgrims. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Who's Who 2008: London, A & C Black, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7136-8555-8
  5. ^ a b c d "Honorary graduands for July 2010". University of Birmingham. 5 July 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Petertide ordinations". Church Times (#6177). 3 July 1981. p. 16. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 7 June 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  7. ^ "Petertide ordinations". Church Times (#6229). 2 July 1982. p. 4. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 7 June 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  8. ^ "Details of Parish". Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
  9. ^ Debrett's People of Today London, Debrett's, 2008 ISBN 978-1-870520-95-9
  10. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory 2008/2009 (100th edition), Church House Publishing ( ISBN 978-0-7151-1030-0)
  11. ^ Diocese of Lichfield — Welcome planned for new Bishop of Shrewsbury (Archived 12 August 2002, accessed 7 June 2017)
  12. ^ (Accessed 24 May 2019)
  13. ^ 2006 Lenten challenge
  14. ^ Diocese of St Albans – New Bishop a step closer (Archived 9 June 2009) (Accessed 11 April 2014)
  15. ^ "News from the Diocese of St Albans". Diocese of St Albans. September 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  16. ^ Bishop warns ministers over delay to £2 fixed-odds betting cap The Observer
Church of England titles
Preceded by
David Hallatt
Bishop of Shrewsbury
Succeeded by
Mark Rylands
Preceded by
Christopher Herbert
Bishop of St Albans

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