"I think it is fair to say that, in Richard, the 20th Century Church of England - and the 21st Century Church of England for that matter - has had one of its truly great and memorable figures". - The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Whether as broadcaster, writer, campaigner, or, above all, as Bishop, Richard Harries has established a solid reputation in public life. But, paradoxically, few people really know the person behind this very public expression. After a rather bleak childhood, Harries was heading for a career in the army when he realised he had a vocation to the ordained ministry of the Church of England. He emerged as a forthright liberal thinker whose heart beats firmly on the left. Yet he has conservative instincts and is theologically orthodox. From his 'golden years' as a parish priest and ever expanding horizons as Dean of Kings College London and through his nineteen years as Bishop of Oxford, Harries developed a distinctive style of leadership. 'Being a bishop' though was not a complete life, and he gave his energy to issues such as nuclear disarmament, peace, justice, art, business morality, stem cell research, and interfaith dialogue.
He wasn't averse to controversy: he took the Church Commissioners to the High Court, and appointed an openly-gay priest to the bishopric of Reading. Appointed a life peer on his retirement, Harries continues to pursue compelling contemporary issues on the cross-benches. John S. Peart-Binns has climbed a mountain of personal material and enjoyed probing conversations and correspondence with his subject. He draws from a wide range of material and on the insights of those who have known and worked with Harries to produce an unexpected and intriguing portrait. "A Heart in My Head" will surprise and inform both admirers and critics of Richard Harries.
John S. Peart-Binns is a Yorkshireman, who has lived in the Pennines for the past 26 years. He is author of thirteen biographies whose episcopal subjects include Hugh Montefiore, Graham Leonard and John Habgood.