The new Bishop of Bolton has spoken about his desire to ensure churches in the town make a difference to those in need of help.

Reverend Dr Matthew Porter will take over the role from Rev Mark Ashcroft, who has served the diocese for 30 years.

The announcement was made at St Philips Church on Chapel Street in Salford on Wednesday.

Rev Porter is currently the Vicar of St Michael le Belfrey in York, and will be consecrated as Bishop at York Minster on Thursday, June 22.

The Bolton News:

He said: “I’m looking forward to getting to know the Bolton area.

"As the Bishop for this area, I’ll be serving the western side of Manchester.

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“I’m a big Manchester United fan, but I will also be praying for Bolton Wanderers as they push for promotion.

"I’ll try to get down to some games too, I’m a big footie fan.”

Rev Porter’s current church in York is a resource church, which helps to plant new churches.

He added: “We’re going to be seeing more of that here.

"Churches that are not just growing, but really serving their communities.

“I want to encourage that work with churches.

"For example, if they’re engaging with vulnerable people.

"Helping people with debt, money issues and in poverty, things like that.

Speaking about succeeding Bishop Mark Ashcroft, he said: “I have big shoes to fill, and I want to honour him and all he has done.

The Bolton News: He will follow in the footsteps of Bishop Mark AshcroftHe will follow in the footsteps of Bishop Mark Ashcroft (Image: Anglican Diocese of Manchester)

“I want to celebrate all that’s good in the community. If I can help people, I want to be able to.

“And I do believe in prayer, I don’t think it’s just a fairy story, I think it makes a difference.

“I want to help people, and I want to become one of the people.”

The Rt Revd Prof David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, added: ‘I am delighted that Matthew Porter is to be the next Bishop of Bolton.

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“He will build on the work done in recent years, further strengthening our skills and passion for mission both in the Bolton and Salford archdeaconries and across the wider diocese.

“He brings us immediate experience of parish life and particular gifts in enabling church planting and church growth.

He is deeply committed to God’s mission here in the North, and will be a great asset not only in Manchester Diocese but across the Northern Province.”

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