Bishop leaving for pastures new

Bishop Philip (left) with his episcopal colleagues Bishop Julian Henderson (centre) and Bishop Geoff Pearson
Bishop Philip (left) with his episcopal colleagues Bishop Julian Henderson (centre) and Bishop Geoff Pearson

The Bishop of Burnley is to leave his role after he was appointed the new Bishop of Sheffield.

The Rt Rev. Philip North will lead his final service in the Diocese of Blackburn at Blackburn Cathedral on May 14th.

Bishop Philip arrived in Burnley just two years ago from his previous position as Team Rector of the Parish of Old St Pancras, a large inner city parish of four churches in the Camden area of north London.

He said: “I have developed a very deep love for the diocese, its clergy and the people of Lancashire and am truly sorry to be leaving so soon.

“In Sheffield I will be the Bishop that you have made. It has been a privilege to serve clergy who are so committed to their ministry, who work so hard and strive so faithfully to bear witness to Christ.

“It has been particularly good to be in the diocese at a time when we have set such a clear agenda for growth through Vision 2026 and through initiatives like Crossroads Mission with Bishops from across northern England.

“The Diocese of Blackburn will always be close to my heart and we will of course continue to walk side by side in prayer, for in the Lord we are all one and are always close.”

Since his appointment in Burnley, Bishop Philip has made his presence felt across the county.

He played a crucial part in the development of the Diocesan Vision 2026: Healthy Churches Transforming Communities.

Bishop Philip was praised for passion for the Gospel and heart for the poor and disadvantaged, combined with quick wit and sharp sense of humour.

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, also revealed that the Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev. Geoff Pearson, would be retiring later this year.

He said: “Our loss is definitely Sheffield’s gain. During Bishop Philip’s time in the diocese his passion for Jesus and for mission has been infectious.

“Always ready to speak truth to power he has courage and grace in abundance. I will miss him greatly as a friend and colleague, not least for his sense of humour.”

The diocese will apply in June to the Dioceses Commission for permission to appoint two suffragan Bishops.