Peter Francis - Warden of Gladstone's Library
Peter Francis studied at the University of St Andrews and the Queen’s College Birmingham. Peter is an Anglican Priest. His 32 years of ministry include periods in England, Scotland and Wales. He began his ministry in the West Midlands before becoming a Chaplain at London University. From London he moved to Scotland as Rector of Ayr and then became Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral Glasgow. In 1997 Peter became Warden of Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, North Wales.
From his time living in the East End of London and working in Glasgow, Peter has developed an interest in urban theology. The Cathedral team ministry in Glasgow included daughter churches and projects in the Urban Priority Areas of Possilpark and Clydebank as well as central Glasgow. In Glasgow he chaired the Diocesan Mission Board and was responsible for the implementation of the Glasgow projects for the Scottish equivalent of the Church Urban Fund. Peter initiated the annual meetings of the Urban Church Collective at Gladstone’s, a group of Urban Theologians and practitioners. A book of their reflections, Faithfulness In The City (Monad Press), was published in 2003.
In contrast to this urban work, Peter has encouraged post-graduate work in Rural Ministry based residentially at Gladstone’s Library. The project is a collaboration between University of Wales and the Arthur Rank Centre. A major consultation of UK bishops will met at Gladstone’s Library to discuss rural issues and minsistry. The papers were collected and co-edited by Peter and published in 2004 as Changing Rural Life (Canterbury Press),
Peter’s other interests include Peace and Justice work. He was the Scottish Representative on the Anglican Peace and Justice Network and participated in their 1996 discussions and meetings with the IMF and World Bank.
Peter was one of the co-founders with Monica Furlong and others of the St Hilda Community, a group committed to creating inclusive liturgy and providing a radical voice in the Movement for the Ordination of Women in the Anglican Communion. Women Included a book of prayers and liturgies by the St Hilda Community was published in 1991 with a further expanded edition published in 1996. In Scotland and at Hawarden he has continued to explore issues of ‘inclusivity’ in liturgy and church structures. Recently he was a Church in Wales representative on CCBI consultation on Human Sexuality. He was also a contributor to Kathy Galloway's 1997 book Dreaming of Eden: Reflections on Christianity and Sexuality (Wild Goose Publishing). Issues of inclusivity and human sexuality were the focus of Rebuilding Communion- Who pays the price? (Monad Press), a book which Peter edited and contributed to before the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Stemming from this work Peter has hosted a number of conferences at Gladstone's Library, often in conjunction with the Scottish theologian Ian Bradley, aimed at reclaiming liberal theology.
Peter is currently writing a book on film and theology and, in 2005, contributed to and co-edited a book of conference papers from the twelve Gladstone Library conferences exploring the same theme - Cinema Divinite (SCM Press).
The role of Warden of Gladstone’s Library has led to Peter’s interest in the life and influence of the Library’s founder,William Ewart Gladstone, and to editing two collections of lectures on Gladstone: The Grand Old Man (Monad Press, 2000) and The Gladstone Umbrella (Monad Press, 2001). Peter has been at Gladstone's Library for both the centenary of Gladstone's death (1998) and the bicentenary of his birth in 2009,
Gladstone's role in politics and faith has led to the Library's bicentenary project which aims to nurture dialogue and understanding between Islam and Christianity. This Islamic Project which includes enhancing the Library's Islamic collection and hosting a number of conferences and courses has been one of Peter's major priorities since 2008.
Peter has been a frequent broadcaster and commentator on religious matters for BBC (BBC Scotland, BBC Wales, BBC Radio 4 and the Wolrd Service).
Peter married Helen in 2001 and they live at Gladstone’s Library with their daughter, Lucy.