Bishop Toby sets out his mission priorities

Bishop Toby commissions groupFour new office holders working in the Bradford Episcopal Area have been commissioned by Bishop Toby Howarth, the Area Bishop of Bradford at a large gathering of Deanery Synod members in Bradford Cathedral (Wednesday 26 November). At the same meeting Bishop Toby (pictured far right) said he was going to spend a week living in each deanery to get to know people churches and areas better.

Mark Waddington (second from right) is the new Church in the World Officer covering the geographical area of the former Bradford diocese for an 18 month period. His role will be to develop the interaction of the Church with local communities and the wider world, building on the work done by the previous officers Kate Plant and before her Sam Randall.

Mark lives in Ilkey worshipping at All Saints Ilkley. A former BBC producer of long standing, more recently he has been working for Oblong Leeds a community development charity. He said, “I love working with volunteers on community led projects.  I looking forward to supporting the brilliant work that is already going on in Bradford and encouraging new and creative ideas.”

Jennifer Rowlands (third from right) works with Prospects, an organisation helping churches to be more inclusive of people with learning disabilities. Prospects have a partnership agreement with the Bradford, Ripon and Leeds episcopal areas and Jennifer will be working with churches in helping those with learning disabilities to grow in faith.

Canon Steve Davie (second from left) is leaving his current post as Vicar of Tong with Holmewood and Acting Area Dean of Bradford North to take up his new role as Director of the Bradford School of Ministry.

Into his place comes Canon Sam Corley (left)who was commissioned to become the Acting Area Dean of Bradford North from 1st December.

Developing Mission in Bradford

Bishop Toby also announced to the large gathering that he planned to spend five weeks during the first few months of  2015 living for a week in each of the five deaneries, meeting the clergy and parishioners and learning about the work and ministry of churches in each area. “One of the things that I really want to do, between January and when my family joins me in the summer, is to spend a week living in each deanery. What I’d love to do is to live among you and, as much as I possibly can, experience the life of the deanery as you and your congregations are living it, and visit industry or people’s homes and particularly to visit all the clergy in your homes and find out what life is like here – and for us to begin to get to know one another.”

The new bishop also said he was keen to lead missions across the Episcopal Area. “I have talked with the area staff and deans about this" said Bishop Toby, "and we will be planning a rolling programme of missions, where I might come as the bishop and spend a week in the deanery for the purpose of having an evangelistic outreach opportunity. That would be about serving you and what you want to do in your churches, but leading it myself. I am aware that in the ‘ordinal’ when I was made a bishop it was to be  a leader of mission.” 

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