The new Area Bishop of Bradford, the Rt. Revd Toby Howarth, has been officially welcomed to the city at an Inauguration Service held at Bradford Cathedral (on Saturday 8 November).
The service was led by the diocesan bishop for the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, Bishop Nick Baines. The new diocese came into being on Easter Sunday 2014, replacing the former dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield and is made up of five Episcopal Areas (Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield) each with its own Area Bishop.
Bradford has the highest proportion of young people in the country and appropriately there was a strong emphasis on children and young people who took part in the service…
Children from local church schools brought forward the symbols of the new bishop’s ministry – a Bible, the bishop’s mitre and the bishop’s crozier or pastoral staff.
The congregation was invited to express its hopes for the future on paper leaves which were then added by children to a small ash tree placed at the front of the Cathedral.
Prayers were led by young people from ‘Sorted’, a thriving Fresh Expression of Church in Bradford.
Bishop Toby’s wife, the Revd Henriette Howarth - an Associate Priest at All Saints, Peckham – and their three daughters, Franciska, Lucy and Tamar joined him at the front of the Cathedral to be welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Mrs Ingrid Roscoe and the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Mike Gibbons together with faith leaders from the city.
And during the service, Henriette Howarth was joined by Wahida Shaffi, Co-ordinator of the Near Neighbours community project, to interview three young people about their own hopes for Bradford – (pictured right to left) Rebecca, a Christian, Hizer Ali, a Muslim and Satkiran, a Sikh.
In his sermon Bishop Toby spoke of his own hopes for the future: “Bradford has always been a city of entrepreneurs both on the past and today.. We need spiritual entrepreneurs—people who can have those little visions, give them to God and watch them grow. It’s not about just big ideas but small things that each of us can do – small actions which God can do amazing things with.”
The music for the service was a mixture of traditional and modern ranging from Vivaldi’s Gloria and Haydn’s, The Heavens Are Telling sung by the Cathedral Choir to modern worship songs by contemporary writers. These were accompanied by a music group which included Toby and Henriette’s daughter, Lucy (pictured below right) and was drawn together from parishes across the Episcopal Area.
The new Area Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs will be also be officially welcomed at an Inauguration servie later this month – on Saturday 29 November, 11am in Dewsbury Minster.