Rt. Rev'd. Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali, born in 1949, is the 106th Bishop of Rochester. Born and brought up in Pakistan, he holds both Pakistani and British citizenship. He read Economics, Islamic History and Sociology at the University of Karachi, and Theology at Fitzwilliam College and Ridley Hall, Cambridge. His postgraduate studies at Oxford, Cambridge and the Australian College of Theology with the Centre for World Religions, Harvard, spanned comparative literature, the comparative philosophy of religion, and theology. He has taught at universities in the UK, Pakistan and New Zealand and has been a visiting lecturer in these countries and in Canada, the USA and Australia. Bishop Michael is Visiting Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Greenwich and Fellow of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford.
After his ordination, and following a curacy in Cambridge, he worked as a parish priest in a poor urban area of Karachi and was also on the staff of Karachi Theological College. He was appointed Provost of Lahore Cathedral in 1981 and, in 1984, was consecrated the first Bishop of Raiwind. Appointed a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury's staff in 1986, Bishop Michael assisted with the planning and preparation of the 1988 Lambeth Conference. He was also editor of the Report and the Pastoral Letters of the 1988 Lambeth Conference. From 1989 to 1994, and his appointment to Rochester, Bishop Michael was General Secretary of the Church Mission Society.
Michael Nazir-Ali is a director of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and, until recently, was a Director of Christian Aid and a member of the Inter-Faith Consultative Group. He is President of the Network for Inter-Faith Concerns in the Anglican Communion (NIFCON) and has sat on a number of committees, including The Archbishop's Commission on the Communion and Role of Women in the Ordained Ministry, the Anglican and Roman Catholic International Commission, the Board of Mission of the General Synod of the Church of England and the Mission Theological Advisory Group (of which he was chairman). In May 1998 he was appointed to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and is the Chair of its Ethics Committee. He played a major part in the 1998 Lambeth Conference. In June 1999 he took his seat in the House of Lords and since making his maiden speech in October he has initiated and contributed to debates on several occasions. He is a member of the Archbishops' Council, the House of Bishops Standing Committee and the Anglican-Roman Catholic Joint Working Group. He is also Chairman of the Working Party on Women in the Episcopate.
Bishop Michael is the author of a number of books on Christian mission, and on inter-faith issues, particularly on Islam. He was chair of the group which wrote The Search For Faith (Church House Publishing 1996). Among other issues, it examined some of the barriers to people believing in Christ today. He is a regular contributor to The Times and other national and local newspapers, to the Church Press, and to Radio and TV both in this country and abroad. In 1999 he presented two BBC Radio 4 documentaries entitled What I Believe. His recent books include Citizens and Exiles, published by SPCK and Shapes of the Church to Come, published by Kingsway.
He has maintained close links with his homeland.
When he was made a bishop in Pakistan, he was the youngest Anglican bishop in the world.
He was the only UK bishop in a 1997 poll to be able to name all five Spice Girls.