The two bishops who will complete the team (or 'college') of five bishops leading the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales have been ordained and consecrated at York Minster (October 17th).
At a service conducted by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, Toby Howarth (pictured second on left) was consecrated as the Area Bishop of Bradford, and Jonathan Gibbs (second from right) was consecrated as the Area Bishop of Huddersfield – the first ever Bishop of Huddersfield.
They join the West Yorkshire and the Dales episcopal team led by the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds and diocesan bishop(pictured centre) and his episcopal colleagues, the Rt Revd James Bell, the Bishop for the Ripon Area (pictured far right) and the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop for the Wakefield Area (pictured far left).
Hundreds of friends, family, colleagues and supporters were at the service including many from the Diocese of Chester, where Jonathan Gibbs was Rector of Heswall for seventeen years. Friends and supporters also came from Lambeth Palace where Toby Howarth was the Archbishop’s Secretary for Inter Religious Affairs since 2011, and by coach from Springfield in Birmingham where he was Priest in Charge from 2004 to 2011.
The new bishops were presented to the Archbishop of York by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Dr Justin Welby (on the right of the picture below), and by the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr. Peter Forster (on the left of the picture).
The Address was given by Archbishop Justin based on the New Testament reading from Philippians Chapter 3 - “… I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ my Lord…”
“A bishop” he told the large congregation “is not a senior manager in a convenient administrative unit for putting together an administration, payroll, and deployment of staff to suitable outlets. A bishop is above all a shepherd, carrying their cross and, like middle-eastern shepherds, leading the sheep.”
The new diocese was created at Easter, 2014, the first new diocese in the Church of England since 1927, and, at 2,630 square miles, one of the largest dioceses in England by area. A key feature of the new diocese is its five smaller areas known as Episcopal Areas, each with its own Area Bishop – Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Bradford and Ripon.
Both new bishops will also be officially welcomed at services in their new Episcopal Areas next month. The Rt. Revd Dr Toby Howarth will be welcomed to Bradford with a service on Saturday November 8th at Bradford Cathedral, while the Rt. Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs will be welcomed at a service on Sat 29 November at Dewsbury Minster, both at 11am
Pictured above are the two families of the new Bishops. With Toby, (left) are his wife, Henriette and their three daughters Franciska - who read the Old Testament lesson – Lucy and Tamar. With Jonathan (pictured right) are his wife Toni and two of his three children Edward and Harriet, together with Harriet's husband, Matthew Curry.
After the service the Archbishop of York led the newly consecrated bishops and their families outside - to be congratulated by friends and colleagues.