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Bishop John's letter to the diocese

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This is a text-only version of an article first published on Friday, 11 April 2014. Information shown on this page may no longer be current.

Friday 11 April 2014

Dear Friends,

I'm writing this special Enews to let you know that I've decided to retire at the end of October this year.

I do this with very mixed feelings, inevitably.

The 'Imagining Faith' clergy conference was such a positive experience and the diocese is full of so many good things that it seems somewhat crazy to leave something I'm enjoying so much.

The truth is there's never a good time to go. I came to Oxford when I was 59 (I was a late developer).

So I've been here for seven years and found it an enormous privilege, full of fascination and a lot of fun.

But I've been ordained now for 42 years and have been going at a fair pace for pretty well all of that time.

It seems only fair to Wendy and the family to give more time to them and to a slower pace of ministry. I also feel the diocese is in good heart. We've gathered an excellent Bishop's Staff team, reshaped for more effective support of our mission.

Living Faith is well embedded and has proved to be an effective framework, ready to be reworked for a new phase.

The diocese is packed full of fine clergy and wonderful lay people, and the mission is going forward imaginatively and energetically in our parishes, benefices and schools. Nationally, the education work has taken up much more time than I imagined, but I think it's going well and can be transferred with relative ease to another bishop, as can other responsibilities. Bishop Colin, being youthful and sprightly, is well able to be acting-Diocesan, although we need to remember he has also just taken on responsibility for four new deaneries.

Details of arrangements for the vacancy and the process of discerning who should be the next Bishop of Oxford will follow later; for the moment I just wanted to let you know this news and to assure you that I shall be working with full commitment right through to the end of October. For the record we will be retiring to Richmond in north Yorkshire, halfway between daughters in London and Edinburgh, near to the Dales, York and Durham.

But much of my heart will remain with the wonderful Diocese of Oxford.

With love in Christ +John

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