THE Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones, will retire on
his 65th birthday in August, it was announced today.
Bishop Jones was appointed to the post in 1998, and is a member
of the House of Lords. He was widely praised last year for his
chairing of the Hillsborough Independent Panel (
News, 14 September). He has suggested that this was "the most
important work" he undertook as Bishop of Liverpool (
Comment, 21 September).
In a letter to the diocese, Bishop Jones said that the
willingness of parishes to "rethink and to reshape our common life
for the service of others" had been "inspiring". It had been a
"privilege" to serve the wider community, "not least in chairing
the Hillsborough Independent Panel. The diocese has recognised the
rightness of me doing this which has given me great strength. The
way the families and survivors have received the Panel's report,
and the way truth is now opening up the path to justice, affirms
the worth of the Panel's work."
After a farewell service at Liverpool Cathedral on 3 July, the
Bishop will move with his wife to Yorkshire.
His letter concluded: "Sarah and I are very conscious of God's
providence over the last 15 years. We are constantly humbled by the
commitment of the laity and by the dedication of the clergy. It has
been a joy to serve you all as bishop."
The Bishop of Warrington, the Rt Rev Richard Blackburn, who will
lead the diocese in the interregnum, thanked God for the "15 years
of exceptional and inspirational leadership" of Bishop James.
The Dean of Liverpool, the Very Revd Dr Pete Wilcox said that
Bishop James had been "an extraordinary servant of the diocese of
Liverpool, the city and the region, as well as a significant voice
on a national stage . . . a wise pastor, a thoughtful and
thought-provoking preacher and teacher, a courageous prophet, a
champion of justice and a faithful friend."
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Revd
Patrick Kelly, paid tribute to Bishop Jones' commitment to "the
well-being in body, mind and spirit, to justice and healed
memories, to dignity and hope for all those among whom the Lord
called him to serve as Bishop."
Bishop Jones was Bishop of Hull for four years before his
translation to Liverpool. He later chaired the New Deal for
Communities programme in Liverpool. Almost half (45 per cent) of
the parishes in the diocese are designated Urban Priority
He also established and chaired the governing body of the St
Francis of Assisi City Academy, jointly sponsored by the Catholic
and Anglican dioceses. It is the first academy to take the
environment as its specialism, a particular interest of Bishop
Jones, who helped to set up Faiths4Change, an organisation engaging
people in "the holistic transformation of their local
In 2011, he was appointed to chair the Independent Panel on
Forestry. He will remain as adviser on Hillsborough to the Home
Secretary, continue to write and broadcast, and will be involved in
a number of other national projects.
The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) is scheduled to meet on
11 March and 25/26 April to nominate candidates for the see of
Manchester, left vacant after the retirement of the Rt Revd Nigel
McCulloch; on 8 May and 6/7 June to nominate candidates for the see
of Durham, left vacant after the appointment of the Rt Revd Justin
Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury; and on 18 July and 5/6 September
to nominate candidates for the see of Bath & Wells, which will
be left vacant when the Rt Revd Peter Price retires in June.