James Jones became Bishop of Liverpool in 1998 having been Bishop of Hull since 1994. Over the last ten years he has been deeply involved in Urban Regeneration. For four years he chaired the New Deal for Communities programme in Liverpool (Kensington Regeneration) and championed community led regeneration in lectures, newspaper articles and broadcasts. 45% of the parishes in the Diocese of Liverpool are Urban Priority Areas.
He also chairs the Board of a faith based City Academy jointly sponsored by the Roman Catholic and Anglican Dioceses. It is the first Academy to take the environment as its specialism and opened in September 2005 which was declared by the United Nations as the beginning of the decade of education for Sustainable Development.
The Bishop also chairs the North West Constitutional Convention which is addressing the issue of regional governance. He believes that regional and local government needs to be coherent, accountable and transparent and that decisions about the future of communities need to be taken at the most local level.
He lectures widely and broadcasts regularly on ‘Thought for the Day’. He has written a number of books, the latest looking at the relationship between Christianity and the environment: "Jesus and the Earth" (SPCK 2003).
Working in partnership with a number of agencies including the Regional Development Agency for the North West he has set up Operation EDEN which is an organisation working across the faith communities engaging local people in the holistic transformation of their local environment. Quoting the African proverb "We have borrowed the present from our children" he believes that young people are much more alert to the need to create cleaner, safer and greener communities. He believes that there is a real tension between community led regeneration and programmes that are centrally driven. He feels that these tensions are often revealed in the language that is used.
People living in local communities tend to use organic language such as "seeds, planting and renewal"; those who control the money tend to use mechanical language such as "triggers, buttons, levers and targets". He is convinced that you cannot have mechanical solutions to organic problems and that those with the money and the power need to understand more fully how communities die and live again.
Although he believes and works well with professional regenerators he is a passionate advocate of enabling local people to shape their own destinies.
Recent selected publications
- Jones, James, Jesus and the Earth (SPCK 2003).