New Diocesan Secretary announced

A committed Christian who has held senior roles within higher education and the national Church has been appointed as Oxford’s next Diocesan Secretary.

Mark Humphriss who will become the new Diocesan Secretary on July 1.

Mark Humphriss is looking forward to meeting the team at Church House Oxford and people right across the Diocese when he joins on July 1. Mark is currently University Secretary at the University of Bath. When we spoke, he was preparing for a meeting with the Home Office on student immigration representing all heads of university administration.

The former Reading University student already has close connections with the Diocese of Oxford. “I loved my time at university which included spending a year studying in Paris. Some of my closest friends are from my time in Reading. We have friends and family living in the diocese. My wife Rachel and I were married at St Mary the Virgin, Marsh Gibbon, in Buckinghamshire where she grew up,” he says.

Mark’s father is a retired priest in the Canterbury Diocese. Growing up in a clergy household, Mark says there were a number of significant points on his faith journey. “Those included being part of a church plant in London. We met in a shop – now it would be called a Fresh Expression – and I worshipped at a really lively church in Paris,” he says.

With 17 years’ experience in national roles, Mark has worked for the Church Commissioners, Lambeth Palace and Church Urban Fund. He became the Head of Financial Policy for the Archbishops’ Council, with responsibility for the Church’s national budget and clergy payroll before joining the University of Bath. He has enjoyed 12 years there in a role that has involved everything from immigration and emergencies to overseeing the university’s own dental centre.

Mark ensures he makes time to serve in his parish church. “Faith is such an important part of my life so using my gifts within the local church is crucial for me,” he says. “I’m a member of my own PCC and have been on a Deanery Synod, a churchwarden and I’ve even been known to preach occasionally.”

Mark says he is inspired by our common vision for a more Christ-like Church. “The role of Diocesan Secretary is to enable and help others to make that vision come alive across the Diocese, and to provide a high-quality service to support mission and ministry in more than a thousand parish churches, chaplaincies and schools,” says Mark.

He paid warm tribute to Rosemary Pearce, who will have served as Diocesan Secretary for 21 years when she retires in June. “She will be a very hard act to follow, which I can only hope to do with the goodwill that is already so evident,” he says.

Mark is also vice-chair of Designability – a charity that transforms the lives of disabled people – and a trustee of Bath’s Holburne Museum.

When he is not working, Mark enjoys going on holiday with his family to interesting places. “It’s great to spend time with the family. I love going to the theatre and concerts too so I’m looking forward to being able to sample the rich cultural experiences on offer across the Thames Valley.”

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, says: “Mark stood out among a strong field of candidates for this role. This is a crucial appointment as we embark on the next stages of our common vision strategy. Mark’s high-level leadership skills, coupled with a strong understanding of the Church and a deep personal commitment were evident throughout the recruitment process, and I am confident that he will prove a worthy successor to Rosemary who has worked and served so diligently on our behalf for many years. It is a blessing that he can take up the position within the ambitious timescale we set out. I am delighted Mark will be joining us.”

Mark is married to Rachel, Head of Children’s Audiology in the Bath area. The couple have two teenage sons.