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Bradford's Bishop David James retires from top job
Bishop of Bradford
Bishop David has embraced many faith communities during his time in Bradford

The Bishop of Bradford, David James, has retired after eight years in the top job.

Bishop David previously served as Bishop of Pontefract for four years.

A service has been held in Bradford Cathedral to mark his work in the city and beyond.

Bishop David says: "At heart I'm a parish priest and what I want people to remember is not me but Jesus and the way he can change our lives for the better."

Bishop David enjoys church for all ages
Children's work has blossomed during Bishop David's time in Bradford

Recalling the most memorable moments during his time in Bradford, Bishop David says: "One of my best memories is baptising people in the River Wharfe by Bolton Priory on what was the sunniest day of 2008.

"With a congregation of hundreds and many people passing by, it was a public witness to the joy of Christian worship and gave a flavour of the worldwide Church.

"As we gave away 500 ice creams, it was also a picture of God's generosity."

Discussing how the Diocese of Bradford has developed over the last eight years, Bishop David says: "There have been lots of wonderful experiments in worship involving children and we have more youth workers now.

"There's been an enormous increase in the number of unpaid ministers, and it has been very encouraging to see Bradford Cathedral transformed so that it is once again an important feature in the life of the city and the diocese."

In May 2010, Bishop David was among the hundreds who commemorated the 25th anniversary of the fire at Bradford City Football Club's Valley Parade ground which killed 56 people in 1985.

There's a wonderful sense as a bishop of being loved by people.
David James, former Bishop of Bradford

He says: "I walked among the crowd and met many people who could remember it as if it was yesterday."

As well as being part of moves to bring Bradford's different faith communities closer together, Bishop David has also visited Pakistan on three occasions during his time in the city.

The Bishop says that the mood in Pakistan has very much changed since his first visit.

He explains: "The first time and the second time I went, I could walk around anywhere and feel safe.

"But now it's not the case. That breaks my heart and it must break the hearts of many people in that beautiful country."

Bishop David also served as Chairman of Bradford Churches for Dialogue and Diversity which provides education and training in religious literacy across the North of England.

The Bishop admits that the personal tragedy of the death of his first grandchild soon after she was born deeply affected him.

She was one of premature twins born to his daughter. The other twin was in need of surgery to have her sight saved.

Bishop David calculates that nearly 25,000 people were praying for that baby.

Bishop David serves food
Bishop David served the community in many ways throughout the diocese

He says: "I've always been touched to hear people say in services, 'We pray for David, our Bishop'.

"There's a wonderful sense as a bishop of being loved by people whose names you might not know and whose faces you only half-recognise.

"I was particularly affected when my granddaughter was born 16 weeks early and was on the verge of going blind.

"There was a great wave of prayer for her and the condition of her eyes suddenly improved."

In retirement, Bishop David says he will mix a little work with reading and "meeting with God at a more leisured pace."

Bishop David says of his retirement: "I think it's going to be like heaven. People say it's wonderful but the transition is rather painful."

Bradford bishop officially appointed
29 Nov 02 |  England
Bishop arrives at journey's end
03 Jan 03 |  England
Bradford City fire 25 years on
11 May 10 |  History


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