Farewell service for Bishop Jonathan as he heads to new role in Rochester

Huddersfield said farewell with a loud round of applause as Bishop Dr Jonathan Gibbs said goodbye at a special evensong service yesterday.

Civic representatives at the town’s parish church included the Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Nigel Patrick and Jason McCartney MP for Colne Valley and worshippers were welcomed by the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds.

A choir formed of singers from St Peter’s, Dewsbury and Halifax minsters led the praise at the special celebration, which was also an act of worship.

In his final sermon, Bishop Jonathan thanked everyone in the Huddersfield Area for their support and partnership during his nearly eight years in post.

He reflected on the difficult times we live in and how after coping with the Covid pandemic, everyone had emerged with hope from a “long winter”, only to be met by the horror of conflict in Ukraine and looming economic hardship.

“But be sure that after Winter, Spring always breaks through,” Bishop Jonathan said.

“We must tell people the source of our hope, which is that Jesus has risen from the dead, God is sovereign, evil will be overturned and that Jesus is with us always.”

In a brief question and answer session with Bishop Nick, Bishop Jonathan said the highlight of his time in the Huddersfield Episcopal Area was working closely with parishes and communities who were committed to doing wonderful things for local people.

He said that and his wife Toni were looking forward to his new roles as Bishop Rochester and he joked that he was following the path of St Paulinus, by heading south as a keen missionary from the north.

Also pictured are Revd Canon Angela Dick and Matthew Amber, Diocesan Chair of Laity, who both read during the service and Revd Canon Rachel Firth, Vicar of St Peter’s.

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