A LEADING vicar is returning to the North-East to take up a senior post at a leading Anglican theological college.

Durham graduate the Rev Dr Philip Plyming has been announced as the new warden of Cranmer Hall in St John’s College, preparing the next generation of Church of England clergy.

He succeeds Mark Tanner, who held the post from 2011 until earlier this year when he was consecrated Bishop of Berwick.

Rev Dr Plyming trained at Cranmer Hall, where he gained a first in theology, before undertaking a curacy at an ecumenical church in Basingstoke.

He went on to serve on the General Synod of the Church of England since 2009 and played a significant role in the church’s Renewal and Reform modernisation project, sitting on the Archbishop’s Simplification Task Group.

He is currently Vicar of Holy Trinity Claygate, a parish church in the Diocese of Guildford which has seen significant growth in recent years, and also Area Dean of Emly.

He is married to Annabelle, a hospice doctor, and they have two schoolage sons.

Rev Dr Plyming said: 'I am so thankful to God for the opportunity to return to Durham to serve as Warden of Cranmer Hall.

“Theological education is more important now than ever, and I know from personal experience how superbly positioned Cranmer is to offer excellent theological teaching in the context of a prayerful community and diverse opportunities for practical ministry.

“I look forward to working with the gifted staff team to enable the training of women and men for leadership in the service of Christ in communities throughout the country”.

Rt Revd Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport and chair of the Cranmer Committee, described it as an exciting appointment and added: “He will embody Cranmer's continuing commitment to honouring our inheritance as an evangelical residential training college for the Church of England in the North East, while being innovative and inclusive, both in who we train and how we train, across the whole church for the whole country”.

President of St John's Council and Bishop of Carlisle Rt Revd James Newcome, said: “Philip Plyming is an outstanding new leader for Cranmer Hall.

“His work growing a large local church combined with his role at General Synod puts him at the forefront of the Renewal and Reform movement”.

Principal of St John's College, Revd Professor David Wilkinson added: “Philip is a dynamic and wise leader for Cranmer Hall and the right person for this strategic time in theological education”.