The retiring Bishop of Burnley received a rare honour at the Church of England’s General Synod in York.
The Rt Rev. John Goddard became the first Suffragan Bishop recipient of an Archbishop’s Farewell Address at Synod.
Normally Farewell Addresses are reserved for Diocesan Bishops, but the Archbishop of York, The Most Rev. Dr John Sentamu, broke with tradition to honour the Mr Goddard, who retires this month.
Following a summary of his 43 year career, peppered with a series of anecdotes, the Archbishop went on to pay fulsome tribute.
He highlighted hte bishop’s role in building bridges between communities following the disturbances of 2001, and how he did this despite receiving death threats.
The 66-year-old clergyman came to the town in 2000 and played a central role in community cohesion following the disturbances.
“Despite the intimidation Bishop John took on a role within a task force to investigate the cause of the riots and improve inter-faith relationships in the town - an achievement he is rightly proud of.”
He was also praised for a being champion of the traditional theological perspective and an advocate for those in poverty.
Dr Sentamu added: “Bishop John has always identified with those in poverty in the most deprived areas of our society.
“He has a passion for the Gospel and a real heart for those with whom our Lord would identify.
“He has been an inspiration in this and in many other ways. He has always spelled out – and lived out - the social and economic implications of the Gospel.
“He loves Christ’s Church and has been fearless and tireless in its defence.”
Mr Goddard, who is originally from Somerset, will retire to Tarleton with his wife Vivienne.
He said: “I was delighted to receive the honour of a Farewell Address and felt both encouraged and strongly affirmed by it.
“I was pleased the Archbishop felt I had played an important part in seeking unity and that he noted my work in deprived areas and on inter-faith matters.”
The Bishop of Burnley’s retirement service takes place at Blackburn Cathedral on Saturday at 11am. All are welcome to attend.