The retirement service for the Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, took place at the weekend at Lancashire’s Anglican Cathedral in Blackburn.
Bishop Geoff was joined by The Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth; members of the Bishop's Leadership Team; current and retired Bishops from across the Church of England; clergy and parishioners from across the Diocese and old colleagues and friends from previous roles he has fulfilled throughout his long career in ministry.
The service followed a dinner at Whalley Abbey (the Diocesan Retreat and Conference Centre in the Ribble Valley) the previous Thursday for current and past members for the Bishop’s Leadership Team including the former Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Nicholas Reade; the former Bishop if Burnley, Rt Rev John Goddard and the former Archdeacon of Blackburn, The Venerable John Hawley.
The Cathedral was packed and dozens of pictures from across Bishop Geoff’s long 43-year career in ministry were shown on screens in the nave as people arrived.
Bishop Geoff and his wife Jean chose to have a more informal ‘songs of praise’ style service with favourite hymns interspersed with recollections and reflections from the couple, who were joined by many family members including their grandchildren.
You can watch a video of highlights from the service on the Diocesan YouTube channel.
Pictures from the event will also available on the Diocesan Flickr feed shortly.
Speaking before the service Bishop Geoff said: “I have some wonderful memories of my time as Bishop of Lancaster and I give thanks to God for His call and His sustaining grace.
“I have mixed emotions today and I also want to thank God for the friendship and fellowship Jean and I have enjoyed across the Diocese.”
Diocesan Bishop Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn commented: “Bishop Geoff has given a lifetime of service to the Church, including more than a decade as Bishop of Lancaster.
"I am so grateful for his support during my first few years in the role of Diocesan Bishop. His experience has been invaluable.”
Bishop Geoff’s other current episcopal colleague in the Diocese, Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, added: “Bishop Geoff’s passion for the Gospel, his boundless enthusiasm and his passionate care for the clergy and lay people in his care have all contributed to a very precious ministry of love across Lancashire. I have learnt so much from his wisdom and experience and have been privileged to count him and Jean not just as colleagues but also as friends.”
Bishop Geoff formally leaves our Diocese at the end of July, but will still be seen around and about Lancashire until then. After presentations of gifts, he and Jean Pearson left the Cathedral to the strains of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ - the famous anthem of his beloved Liverpool FC. The couple will retire to Rainhill in his native Liverpool.
Hi-resolution copies of the pictures taken at the retirement service are available to order from the photographer Sara Cuff - visit this page on her website.