The Rt Rev James Jones has announced that he will retire as Bishop of Liverpool on his 65th birthday in August. In a letter to the Diocese the Bishop says that his leaving will “give his successor the opportunity in due course to form his own leadership team to take the diocese forward.”
The diocese will hold a farewell service for the Bishop at Liverpool Cathedral on July 3rd.
Bishop James and his wife Sarah will leave the diocese in August. The Bishop will remain as adviser to the Home Secretary on Hillsborough, continue to write and broadcast and will be involved in a number of other national projects.
In his letter Bishop James said “Throughout my time in Liverpool I have found the willingness of the parishes in the Diocese to rethink and to reshape our common life for the service of others has been inspiring. Our Diocese is growing and there is still huge opportunity locally to make a difference to our communities with the Gospel of Christ.
It has been a privilege as Bishop to serve the wider community not least in chairing the Hillsborough Independent Panel. The Diocese has recognised the rightness of me doing this which has given me great strength. The way the families and survivors have received the Panel’s report and the way truth is now opening up the path to justice affirms the worth of the Panel’s work..“
The Bishop concluded “Sarah and I are very conscious of God’s providence over the last 15 years. We are constantly humbled by the commitment of the laity and by the dedication of the clergy. It has been a joy to serve you all as bishop. As together in the Diocese we thank God for his providence we renew our trust in him and pray that he will continue to guide the Diocese especially in the appointing of a new Bishop of Liverpool.”
Paying tribute to Bishop James The Bishop of Warrington, The Rt Rev Richard Blackburn said “I give thanks and praise to God for the 15 years of exceptional and inspirational leadership that Bishop James has given to the Diocese of Liverpool. We have been enormously blessed by his gifts and energy. I shall miss him as a wise colleague and a true Father in God”
Dean of Liverpool, The Very Rev Dr Pete Wilcox said “Bishop James has been an extraordinary servant of the diocese of Liverpool, the city and the region, as well as a significant voice on a national stage, for well over a decade. He has been a wise pastor, a thoughtful and thought-provoking preacher and teacher, a courageous prophet, a champion of justice and a faithful friend.
We wish him and Sarah a fulfilling new phase of life and work in what will surely be an active and fruitful retirement.”