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Bishop of Burnley announces his retirement

The Bishop of Burnley, The Rt Rev. John Goddard, will be retiring in July this year
Bishop John, 66, who has 43 years of experience as a clergyman - more than 13 of them as a Bishop - is one of the most respected members of The Church of England’s House of Bishops.
The announcement comes after Bishop John sought HM The Queen’s permission to step down from his role, as is customary. Not a Lancastrian by birth, he has come to love the County and he and his wife Vivienne will spend their retirement in Tarleton.
This permission has just been given and so the Bishop has now announced his retirement day as July 19, 2014.
Speaking today, Lancashire’s Bishop, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn, said: "Bishop John has served the people of Lancashire with distinction for many years including nearly 14 years as Bishop of Burnley.
He commands huge respect from all communities and I have hugely valued his counsel since my arrival in Lancashire last year.
I know I speak for the whole Diocese when I wish Bishop John and his wife Vivienne a long and very happy retirement together.
In the meantime Bishop John will continue to serve the Diocese and we will be looking at ways to ensure his long service to the community is marked appropriately before he steps down."
In an email and letter sent today to all Diocese clergy and staff, as well as partner organisations, Bishop John speaks about his decision.
He says: “Having weighed matters carefully and taken advice, I believe the time has arrived when I should lay down the privilege of being the Bishop of Burnley.
I have found great fulfilment in the diversity of ministry to which I have been called over the last 43 years and certainly being the Bishop of Burnley for more than 13 of those years has been a blessing.
My engagement in ministry, service and witness with you has been a time of joy, challenge, sometimes real fun and often of spiritual depth.
I want to take this early opportunity of thanking you for the friendship and encouragement I have received and ask that you hold me in your prayers as I move forward in whatever God will require of me.”
Bishop John was born in Somerset in a small coal mining town where his father was the local Vicar. He grew up in Swindon. He is married to Vivienne and the couple have two sons, Michael, who is a social worker and Gareth, who is a teacher.
He was ordained in the York diocese to the Parish of South Bank in Middlesborough in 1970. At 28 he was made Vicar of The Ascension Middlesbrough and then, in 1982, to the town centre parish of All Saints, Middlesbrough when he was also appointed Area Dean. All these parishes were deprived areas.
In 1988 he became Vice-Principal of Edinburgh Theological College in the Episcopal Church of Scotland, returning to England to be Rector of the Team Parish of Ribbleton in Lancashire in 1992.
In 2000 he was consecrated Bishop of Burnley. In that same year there were the disturbances in Burnley. Bishop John worked with those of other denominations and other faiths to form ‘Building Bridges Burnley’ which became not only a forum for working across the faiths but also in opposing the BNP.
Bishop John was also involved in the investigatory taskforce and received the honour of a Mayoral reception to thank him for his work.
Ronnie Semley

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