The Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs is to be consecrated the first Bishop of Huddersfield and the Revd Dr Toby Howarth, is to be consecrated the Bishop of Bradford at York Minster this Friday October 17th at 11am. The two new area bishops are appointed to serve in the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu will consecrate both Area Bishops.  The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury is to preach at the service. 

During the service the two candidates will be presented to the Archbishop of York and they make their oaths of obedience. The Revd Dr Toby Howarth will be presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, and Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs, will be presented by the Bishop of Chester and the Bishop of Leeds.

The Revd Dr Toby Howarth, who becomes the Bishop of Bradford, was previously the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Inter Religious Affairs and has been based at Lambeth Palace since 2011. Dr Howarth is also National Inter Religious Affairs Adviser for the Church of England.

The Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs was Rector of Heswall in the Diocese of Chester for seventeen years, and will be consecrated as a first ever Bishop of Huddersfield.

Huddersfield is a new bishopric covering the local authority areas of Calderdale and Kirklees and like Bradford is one of the five ‘episcopal areas’ of the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales created last Easter. The other areas are Wakefield, Leeds and Ripon which already have their bishops.

Hundreds of friends, colleagues and supporters are expected at the service including many from the Diocese of Chester, from Lambeth Palace and Springfield in Birmingham where Toby Howarth was Priest in Charge from 2004 to 2011, together with clergy and civic representatives from throughout the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.

Speaking about his appointment as Bishop of Bradford, Toby Howarth said, “It is a great joy to have been appointed as the new Area Bishop of Bradford. The role has no shortage of opportunities and challenges. I am very much looking forward to working with clergy, congregations and ecumenical partners in the diversity of the city itself, the surrounding towns and rural areas. I am also looking forward to engaging with the communities of which our churches are a part, and building relationships with those involved in the range of civic, statutory  and community organisations which make up this vibrant metropolitan district.”

Jonathan Gibbs also commented on his appointment as Bishop Of Huddersfield. He said, “I am delighted to be coming to Yorkshire and to be joining the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales at this exciting time. My wife Toni and I are thrilled to be moving to such a great part of the world, with a wealth of culture in its towns and cities as well as beautiful villages and countryside.  I am looking forward to working with the other members of the Diocesan team to build up the life of our churches both numerically and spiritually and to contributing to the life of the rich and diverse community in West Yorkshire.“

Both new bishops will also be officially welcomed at services in their new Episcopal Areas next month. Revd Dr Toby Howarth will be welcomed to Bradford with a service on Saturday November 8th at Bradford Cathedral, while the Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs will be welcomed at a service on Sat 29 November at Dewsbury Minster, also at 11am.

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