The Anglican Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, will retire at the end of July after nearly 43 years of ministry.
Bishop Geoff, 65, has held the Bishop role for more than a decade.
His official retirement service took place in mid-July at Lancashire’s Anglican Cathedral in Blackburn.
Ordained in 1974, Bishop Geoff studied at St John’s College and Cranmer Hall, both in Durham. His ministry has involved positions across the Church of England in places as diverse as Wakefield, Blackburn, Liverpool and London.
In 2006 Bishop Geoff was appointed to the role of Bishop of Lancaster by then Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev Nicholas Reade.
Since 2008 he has also ‘doubled-up’ as Priest-in-Charge for St James’ Church in Shireshead, near Forton, which is situated next to his house and office in the village.
Bishop Geoff and his wife Jean will retire to Liverpool.
Here he reflects on his time as Bishop of Lancaster:
“Early in my ministry I was given a life verse from the Bible that seemed to reflect my story and personality. From Psalm 96 it said, ‘Proclaim every day the good news that God has saved us’.
“This became my call to action and my motivation for each new day.
“I have now been in ministry for more than 40 years – the last 11 of those years as the Anglican Bishop of Lancaster.
“As I prepare to retire I find myself reflecting first on how I will miss the people of this great County of Lancashire and one particular kindness comes to mind. At my consecration service, when I became Bishop of Lancaster at York Minster in 2006, I asked for the hymn, ‘In Christ Alone’ but it was refused for various reasons.
“When clergy in the Blackburn Diocese heard this, in the weeks and months after my arrival as Bishop they started to deliberately choose it wherever I went!
“It became a kind of anthem and a reflection of the kindness and hospitality that my wife Jean and I have constantly experienced across the county.
“Jean has been a constant support to me. I remember visiting a church in Fleetwood where the vicar promptly announced the best thing about the Bishop of Lancaster is his wife. I could not agree more!
“Among the many memories from my time as Bishop I will cherish is the Youth Pilgrimage to South Africa in 2016 during which older teenagers from Lancashire worked hard, played hard and prayed hard.
“I sense then, I leave Blackburn Diocese in good heart. There is a great team across the whole Diocese, led by Bishop Julian, spearheading our Vision 2026, which is all about healthy churches transforming our communities.
“As I draw these reflections to a close, one memory from my experience of working with children and young people comes to mind.
“Walking past a group of youngsters one day, I overheard one of them say ‘it’s that Jesus dude’. I’ll take that!”