THE Bishop of Liverpool James Jones said it had been “a joy” to serve in the city as he announced he will retire on his 65th birthday in August.
Bishop James and his wife Sarah will move to their cottage in Yorkshire and the Bishop of Warrington, the Rt Rev Richard Blackburn, will take over until a permanent replacement is appointed.
He will remain an advisor to Home Secretary Theresa May on Hillsborough after chairing the independent panel into the disaster which revealed the full truth behind the tragedy.
News of his departure – after 15 years in his role – comes just weeks after Liverpool’s Catholic Archbishop Patrick Kelly announced he too would step down after suffering a slight stroke.
In a letter to the Diocese Bishop James said: "It has been a joy to serve you all as Bishop.
“Throughout my time in Liverpool I have found the willingness of the parishes in the Diocese to rethink and to reshape our common life for the service of others has been inspiring.
"Our Diocese is growing and there is still huge opportunity locally to make a difference to our communities with the Gospel of Christ.
“It has been a privilege as Bishop to serve the wider community not least in chairing the Hillsborough Independent Panel.”