Leeds vicar and Lighthouse founder recognised in New Year’s Honours

Revd Jon Swales, Team Vicar at St George’s Church Leeds, has been recognised in the 2022 New Year’s Honours. 

Founder of Lighthouse West Yorkshire, a church community with a special focus on those struggling with addiction and mental health issues in Leeds, Jon has been awarded an MBE for services to the city, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Set up in 2014, Lighthouse now supports over a hundred people with multiple and complex needs, working closely with both St George’s Church and St George’s Crypt.

During the pandemic, the Lighthouse team has supported vulnerable adults, providing pastoral care, food parcels and doorstep visits to those isolating. It also runs a Christian Day Centre six days a week that provides holistic care and support so that individuals can live lives full of dignity and purpose. 

The Revd Jon Swales said, “I am honoured to receive an MBE as it highlights the love and care the team have consistently shown as we have travelled together as a Lighthouse family through the storms of Covid-19. 

“Our intention at Lighthouse, whatever befalls in the coming months is to share the saving message of Jesus and offer Christ-shaped pastoral care, in word and deed, to those battered and bruised by the storms of life. 

“I count it as a real privilege not only to receive this award but to lead such a dedicated, skilled and compassionate team.”

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, said, “This honour for Jon is well-deserved and demonstrates that the vital work he leads does not go unnoticed. I am grateful to him and his colleagues for their faithful, though demanding, ministry.”

Revd Jon has also long been a champion of green issues and active in efforts to promote awareness of threats to the environment. 

In advance of the COP26 climate conference in November, Jon produced a dedicated collection of climate prayers and videos. He has recently gone on to produce a podcast called Lament & Hope: Prayers for the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

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