As Downing Street was announcing the appointments of the new Bishop of Huddersfield and Bishop of Bradford (on Tuesday August 26th), locally the new bishops were being introduced to the press and media at a photo-call held in Leeds railway station. TV cameras from BBC Look North and ITV’s Calendar news programme were joined by press photographers as Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs, announced as the first ever Area Bishop of Huddersfield, and Revd Dr Toby Howarth, the Area Bishop of Bradford were introduced by the Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines.
Bishop Nick said, “I am delighted with these appointments which complete our team of bishops. They bring wide experience, great expertise and substantial gifts to our leadership and ministry as we build the new diocese. Both will bring important outside perspectives to this complex task and help bring bishops closer to the ground in parishes and local communities.”
Joining Jonathan and Toby were their wives, Toni Gibbs and Revd Henriette Howarth, together with the Archdeacons of Halifax and Bradford and senior clergy.
From Leeds station, the two new bishops travelled by train to their new Episcopal Areas to meet local civic leaders, community and faith representatives and senior clergy.
Bradford: Toby Howarth, pictured above left with Henriette his wife, headed by train to Bradford where they were welcomed by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Mike Gibbons, the Lady Mayoress, Elizabeth Sharp, Suzan Hemingway representing the Chief executive of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and the Very Revd Jerry Lepine, the Dean of Bradford. Interviews and pictures for the Bradford Telegraph and Argus newspaper, and coffee in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour, were followed by a stroll up to Bradford Cathedral, past the new Westfield Centre now well under construction for lunch.
Pictured above at Bradford Cathedral meeting Revds Toby and Henriette Howarth are Zulfi Karim (top centre) of the Bradford Council of Mosques, Wahida Shaffi (lower left) of the Bradford Council for Dialogue and Diversity, Young people from the Bradford Episcopal Area (lower centre), and Manoj Joshi (lower right /right) of the Hindu Society and Britannia Care Homes, and Balu Lad (lower right /left) a member of the Hindu community and a local businessman ).
Huddersfield: Meanwhile the Jonathan and Toni Gibbs travelled to Huddersfield where on St George’s Square they were welcomed by the Mayor & Mayoress of Kirklees and several religious and community leaders and local clergy.
Photo L-R Simon Moor (Vicar of Huddersfield Parish Church), Barry Sheerman (MP for Huddersfield) Jonathan Gibbs, the Mayor and Mayoress of Kirklees, Cllr Ken and Christine Smith, Venerable Anne Dawtry (Archdeacon of Halifax) and Kiran Bali (Hindu) (President of Huddersfield Interfaith Council)
After coffee (kindly provided by the Head of Steam pub at the station), Jonathan and Toni headed to Halifax Minster, where, after a short communion service, they were introduced to clergy and community leaders from Calderdale.
Jonathan thanked everyone for the “warmest of Yorkshire welcomes.” He said, “It’s a huge privilege to be part of this new diocese as the Church of England does something radically new. And I’m delighted to have met with such enthusiasm, both from within the church and also from the wider community; there’s a great sense of support for the local church and a desire for us all to work together to help see our local communities transformed. The Huddersfield Area is small enough for me to really get to know people, and I really look forward to beginning to do that in December.”
Pictures above (top left to right): Barry Sheerman, MP for Hudderfield, Hilary Barber, Vicar of Halifax Minster, Pub sign at “Head of Steam” pub at Huddersfield station which gave out free coffee
Speaking at Halifax Minster (middle row)
Left: Jonathan and Toni also visited a music project (using ipads) which the Minster has been putting on for local children.