With just more than a week to go until his final farewell retirement service at Blackburn Cathedral the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Julian Henderson, and his wife Heather have hosted people from across the County for a series of farewell social events at Bishop’s House near Ribchester.
The last of these social events of ‘tent week’ (actually a ten-day period) took place earlier this week and were for clergy from across the Diocese.
Invited guests across the 10 days also included members of the Diocesan Mothers’ Union; faith leaders from across Lancashire; staff who work at the Diocesan Offices on the edge of Blackburn; headteachers from Lancashire’s Church of England schools; civic leaders including Mayors, Mayoresses and MPs plus many more.
A recording of a thankyou address given by Bishop Julian at one of the clergy events held on Monday of this week is also now available to watch here on our YouTube channel.
Speaking on behalf of Heather and himself, at what was one of three events for clergy and their spouses during tent week, Bishop Julian thanked everyone for their support and friendship.
While looking forward to retirement, Bishop Julian added: “It is quite a sad moment for us both to be stepping aside after nine really happy and joyful years here in the great County of Lancashire and in a great Diocese.
“We have made considerable progress over the last nine years. There has been lots to be thankful for, particularly with our ‘Vision 2026, Healthy Churches Transforming Communities’ embedded and driving what we are doing here in Lancashire.”
Bishop Julian added: “God has brought a wonderful team together here in Lancashire; in our parishes and schools and also the central team based out of the Diocesan offices. I leave with great confidence that team will continue to take forward the work already started.
“And while I am retiring in one way, in another way I’m not. I remain a Christian and disciple of Jesus and I will go on serving Him; just not with the responsibility of being the Bishop of Blackburn.”
Bishop Julian and Heather will be moving to Sussex to be closer to their family in retirement, including their three grandchildren.
The final farewell retirement service is being held at 2pm at Blackburn Cathedral on July 16. All are welcome. Meanwhile, in the days before the 16th, Bishop Julian will also continue to lead the remainder of a series of 14 Deanery Farewell services in parishes across Lancashire. There are five still to go.
There is a ‘landing page’ here on the Diocesan website with everything you need to know related to the retirement of Bishop Julian and Heather; including information about the 16th and the remaining Deanery farewells. Check back there regularly for further updates.
Ronnie Semley, July 2022