Bishop of Burnley to retire

The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev. John Goddard, who is retiring in July (s)
The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev. John Goddard, who is retiring in July (s)
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The Bishop of Burnley is to retire this summer after 43 years as a clergyman.

The Rt Rev. John Goddard (66), who came to the town in 2000 and played a central role in community cohesion following the disturbances, will step down on July 14th.

The announcement comes after the Bishop sought the Queen’s permission to retire, which is customary for all bishops.

Mr Goddard, who is originally from Somerset, will retire to Tarleton with his wife Vivienne.

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, said: “Bishop John has served the people of Lancashire with distinction for many years including nearly 14 years as Bishop of Burnley.

“He commands huge respect from all communities and I have hugely valued his counsel since my arrival in Lancashire last year.

“I know I speak for the whole diocese when I wish Bishop John and his wife Vivienne a long and very happy retirement together.

”In the meantime Bishop John will continue to serve the diocese and we will be looking at ways to ensure his long service to the community is marked appropriately before he steps down.”

In an email and letter sent to all diocese clergy and staff, as well as partner organisations, Mr Goddard said the decision to retire was not easy to make.

“Having weighed matters carefully and taken advice, I believe the time has arrived when I should lay down the privilege of being the Bishop of Burnley.

“I have found great fulfilment in the diversity of ministry to which I have been called over the last 43 years and certainly being the Bishop of Burnley for more than 13 of those years has been a blessing.

“My engagement in ministry, service and witness with you has been a time of joy, challenge, sometimes real fun and often of spiritual depth.

“I want to take this early opportunity of thanking you for the friendship and encouragement I have received and ask that you hold me in your prayers as I move forward in whatever God will require of me.”

Mr Goddard, who grew up in Swindon, and his wife have two sons, Michael, who is a social worker and Gareth, who is a teacher.

After being ordained in the York diocese 1970, Mr Goddard served parishes in Middlesbrough, Edinburgh and Ribbleton before coming to Burnley where he helped to form Building Bridges Burnley. He was also involved in the investigatory taskforce and received the honour of a mayoral reception to thank him for his work.