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Two new bishops for West Yorkshire

29 August 2014


New lads: left to right: Bishop Baines, with Canon Howarth and Dr Gibbs

New lads: left to right: Bishop Baines, with Canon Howarth and Dr Gibbs

THE names of the final two bishops for the Church of England's newest diocese, West Yorkshire & the Dales, have been announced.

On Tuesday, Canon Toby Howarth was named as the new Bishop of Bradford, and the Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs as the first Bishop of Huddersfield. Both will be area bishops in the new diocese, which was formed by amalgamating the dioceses of Ripon & Leeds, Bradford, and Wakefield, at Easter.

Canon Howarth, who is 52, is currently Secretary for Inter-Religious Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and National Inter-Religious Affairs Adviser for the C of E. He worked in India and the Netherlands after his ordination in 1992, and has a Ph.D. in Islamic preaching from the Free University of Amsterdam.

After moving back to the UK in 2002, he was Vice-Principal of Crowther Hall, the former CMS college, and then a priest-in-charge in Birmingham. He is married to Henriette, who is from the Netherlands and is also ordained, and they have three teenage children.

"The role has no shortage of opportunities and challenges," Canon Howarth said. "I am very much looking forward to working with clergy, congregations, and ecumenical partners."

Dr Gibbs, who is 53, has been Rector of Heswall in the diocese of Chester since 1998. He was previously a chaplain in Basel, in the diocese in Europe, and is fluent in German and French. He trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, and has a Cambridge Ph.D. in theology. He is also a member of the General Synod and the Clergy Discipline Commission. Dr Gibbs is married to Toni, and they have three children, aged from 18 to 24.

Dr Gibbs is a member of the Campaign for Real Ale. "I am also very partial to a pint of Timothy Taylor's 'Landlord', and am looking forward to getting to know some more of the local brews."

The new diocese is made up of five episcopal areas, each with its own area bishop and archdeacon. The Area Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, is also the diocesan bishop.

Both men will be consecrated as bishops in York Minster on 17 October by the Archbishop of York.

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