THE Rt Rev Dr Peter Selby has never been one to be afraid to speak out.

He has made the headlines of the Worcester News on several topics since joining the diocese in 1997. Hot topics that he has added his views to include the war in Iraq - which he vehemently opposed - same-sex weddings, which he welcomed, and most recently, the planned reduction of hospital chaplains, which he condemned.

He has also been particularly passionate about the prison system and the welfare of inmates - in 2001 he was appointed Bishop to Prisons.

One of greatest mementos of the day he began his ministry in Worcester - on September 7, 1997 - is from a prisoner. He began the day he was inducted and installed at Worcester Cathedral with a eucharist at HMP Long Lartin. One of the prisoners presented him with an illuminated scroll at the end of that service, which he still has today.

Bishop Peter was born on December 7, 1941. He was educated at St John's College, Oxford - where he obtained a BA and MA in philosophy and psychology - and at King's College, London, where he obtained his PhD.

His ordination training took place at Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1964-6, which included clinical training at San Quentin State Prison, California. He was ordained as a deacon in 1966 and as a priest in 1967.

The bishop's wife Jan is a professional counsellor and leads training courses in spirituality and spiritual direction. They have three grown-up children, Ben, Suzanne and Naomi.

The bishop is also a well-known author of religious works. His parents met in London, where they had gone as refugees with the rise of Nazism in their native Germany and Austria.

He grew up in north-west London and although his parents were members of the Church of England they did not at that time attend church regularly. His involvement in religion began with confirmation classes and he has paid tribute to the well-known scholar, John Austin Baker, for helping him to take the Christian faith seriously. Mr Baker was a curate in his home parish.

By the time Peter Selby went to Oxford he had already been accepted by the Church of England for theological training, which he did in America at the height of the Civil Rights struggle. He was ordained at St Paul's Cathedral.

His first post was as a curate at All Saints Church, Queensburgh, Edgware, north London, where he met his wife, who was a member of the choir.

For eight years he was a member of the lay training team in the Diocese of Southwark, before moving to be the Canon Missioner for Newcastle Diocese from 1977-84.

In 1984, he was back in the Diocese of Southwark as Area Bishop of Kingston, responsible for an area stretching from Lambeth to Brixton.

In 1992, he was appointed a Professorial Fellow in Applied Theology at Durham University where he wrote Grace and Mortgage - The Language of Faith and the Debt of the World, Dr Selby began his ministry in Worcester, in September 1997.