A FORMER Huddersfield clergyman who spread the Christian message in pubs is to be a bishop.
Canon Stephen Cottrell, 45, will become Bishop of Reading after the post was originally offered to the gay but celibate cleric Canon Jeffrey John.
The resulting row threatened to split the church.
Jeffrey John later withdrew his acceptance after a high profile campaign by Church of England traditionalists against his appointment.
Canon Cottrell lived in Birkby after being appointed missioner for the diocese of Wakefield in 1993.
He helped stage pub meetings with Christian speakers at Emley, Lepton, Holmbridge and other places in the area.
Since 2001 he has been canon pastor and vice-dean of Peterborough Cathedral.
Speaking in Reading, the new bishop said he would be keeping to the Church's official line on homosexuality.
He added: "My view is that the Church needs to listen more and speak less about the issue.
"We need to listen to what God is saying, what the scriptures are saying.
"We need to listen to gay and lesbian people in our church - we need to listen to what the world says."
Canon Cottrell was born and brought up in Essex and before ordination he lived in South London, working in the film industry.
During his time in Huddersfield Canon Cottrell, a football-loving, married father-of-three, worshipped with his family in the parish of St Thomas's Church, Longroyd Bridge.
While working in the Wakefield diocese he was part of a group that wrote and developed the Emmaus programme for evangelism, nurture and discipleship, used by 3,000 churches in Britain and also around the world.
His consecration is on May 4.