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UK News

The most senior C of E figure to back same-sex marriage in church announces his retirement

Rt Revd Paul Bayes has announced he intends to retire as the Bishop of Liverpool in February 2022. 

He has been the bishop for eight years and his farewell service will be on 12th February 2022 at Liverpool Cathedral.

In a letter to clergy, churchwardens and other ministers, the bishop,who's 67, said: "I'm deeply grateful to God for the years spent ministering alongside my outstanding colleagues and friends here in Liverpool Diocese. For me, the time has come to prepare for a new chapter in life and ministry, and to contribute in a different way".

Bishop Paul became Bishop of Liverpool, joining from St Albans Diocese where he served as Bishop of Hertford.

An announcement on the Diocese of Liverpool website read: "{He} has steered the diocese on our journey as we seek to grow and serve our communities. Adopting the growth agenda on his arrival, he helped us think as a diocese on how we ask God for a bigger church to make a bigger difference with more people knowing Jesus and more justice in the world. In consultation with the Diocesan Synod he developed and framed our thinking around a Rule of Life for our spiritual disciplines with the inward journey of pray, read, learn matched by the outward journey to tell, serve and give."

Bishop Paul has spoken out on a number of social justice issues including matters of food injustice and debt and is a prominent speaker and activist for inclusion particularly on LGBTQ+ issues.

On June 26, he became the most senior Church of England figure to back marriage between same-sex couples in church, calling for a gender-neutral marriage canon to be brought into law.

He made the comments during the keynote speech for the network Mosaic Anglicans, a church coalition focused on a range of issues, including race and sexuality.

Announcing his retirement, Bishop Paul added: "I look forward to the next few months as we work to sustain our parishes, schools, fresh expressions and chaplaincies as communities of worship and mission through the pandemic and into God's new future.

"Across the whole Church of England we are on the way together into that same future. I shall continue as best I can to contribute to a faithful, open, joyous, light, inclusive and just Church - a community that is true to the poor carpenter who made it; one that honours those on the edge of things; one that conveys the amazing reality of our loving and living God to England as it actually is."

While the diocese is in vacancy the Bishop of Warrington, Rt Revd Bev Mason will be the episcopal lead.
 

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