The Rt Revd Paul Slater, Bishop of Kirkstall, has written about his time in the diocese, the city of Leeds, and cricket, as he ends his innings and retires at the end of January.
Please find what he has written below.
“I write this with just a few weeks to go before I retire as Bishop of Kirkstall at the end of January. Since the announcement at the beginning of October, time has slipped by pretty quickly and, of course, things are less settled than we might have anticipated.
“My final service as Bishop of Kirkstall will be at Leeds Minster on Sunday, January 23 at 10am. I also, hopefully, have a last meeting with Leeds Episcopal Area clergy at the Pan Leeds Chapter meeting on Tuesday, January 11 at 12 noon at St. Paul’s Ireland Wood.
“My wife, Beverley, has already reduced her work to 2 days a week. We have lived 100 yards outside the Leeds Episcopal Area while I have been bishop and we plan to stay put for the time being.
“I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity in these last six and a half years to be the first bishop for the Leeds Episcopal Area and to help forge a coherent strategy for mission for Anglican churches, historically drawn from three dioceses, for the city of Leeds. Being from Bradford, Leeds was always a bit of a mystery to me - not so now; I think I know the local geography pretty well, even if occasionally I can take a wrong turn.
“Of course, I am also grateful for the many colleagues I have worked with in Bradford, Craven, Richmond and Leeds, both clergy and lay, and I have particularly enjoyed my relationships with congregations and churchwardens in parishes. I have lots of stories - some that can be told and some that can’t.
“Epiphany is a good time to go - to retire - because it’s the time when Jesus is revealed to the whole world. You cannot escape the enormity and sweep of God’s good purposes and that serves to put in perspective almost forty years of ministry in Yorkshire.
“Yorkshire cricket has been in the spotlight for good reason this last few months. But there is a story, most possibly apocryphal, about Geoff Boycott when he was called up to play for Yorkshire for the first time. The announcement was made while Boycott was playing in
a Yorkshire league game and news filtered out to him while he was batting in the middle. At the end of the next over, he tucked his bat under his arm and walked off the field, declaring: “I have finished with this kind of cricket”.
“As I come to the end of this phase of ministry and life, I feel that I am finishing with this kind of cricket, but I haven’t finished with cricket.”