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Bishop of Rochester James Langstaff credit Diocese of Rochester.png header2.png
The Diocese of Rochester
The Diocese of Rochester
Church News

Bishop of Rochester announces retirement

by Cara Bentley

The Rt Rev James Langstaff has announced that he will be retiring in July next year. 

Bishop James and his wife Bridget plan to return to Birmingham where he had been a priest before becoming a bishop. 

As a Trustee for the Christian charity Housing Justice, he has spoken about the need for secure housing for children and, as Bishop to Prisons, has supported Christians who work in prisons and rehabilitation projects. 

He also joined the House of Lords in 2014, sitting with the other Lords Spiritual, and contributed to debates on homelessness and criminal justice in particular. 

In a video, he explained that he had always planned to be in Rochester for ten years. 

 

He said: "One of the highlights for me has been to see all those individuals who have responded to God's calling, whether through confirmation, or conversion, or in ordination or lay ministry in its many forms. To see people on a journey of discipleship is the most important thing of all and I've been really grateful to be part of that."

Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones, the Bishop of Tonbridge will take responsibility for the Diocese in the meantime. 

Bishop Simon said: "It's hard to imagine the weight of responsibility in being a diocesan bishop. Bishop James has shown great grace and dignity in the decade leading Rochester, held a clear sense of the Gospel in front of him and used an excellent strategic brain to plot courses, being open to ideas and suggestions from lots of sources."

He added: "Having worked closely with Bishop James throughout his tenure, I have found him to be unfailingly kind, even-tempered, able to see the funny side and, with Bridget, greatly hospitable to the many users of Bishopscourt."

Plans are being made for a farewell event around 3rd and 4th July 2021, depending on the Covid-19 situation, as well as informal occasions throughout the year where people can say goodbye.

Information about the timetable for appointing Bishop James' successor will be announced by the Diocese of Rochester in due course.

Listen to this interview from March, where Bishops James spoke about the potential closure of churches and parliament due to coronavirus, prior to lockdown. 

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