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Archbishop of Canterbury to Visit Diocese of Bradford

Tuesday 8th July 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and his wife Jane are visiting the Diocese of Bradford on 8 and 9 July.

The Archbishop will preach and celebrate at a memorial service for Jane's father, the late Rt Revd Geoffrey Paul, who was Bishop of Bradford from 1981 until he died in 1983 - 25 years ago.

Geoffrey Paul was known as a considerable New Testament scholar, a brilliant preacher and a visionary leader - as well as being a loving husband and father of five daughters.

In an introduction to Geoffrey Paul's book, 'A Pattern of Faith', published in 1986, Rowan Williams wrote: "Geoffrey was one of the greatest Christians I have been privileged to know. He was not only a scholar and bishop of unusual stature, but a man who commanded love and loyalty in a rare degree, from the most diverse souls".

Rowan and Jane Williams were married in July 1981 at St Barnabas, Heaton.  Geoffrey Paul walked Jane to the church from Bishopscroft - the Bishop's nearby residence - and the couple spent their honeymoon in nearby Haworth.

Jane Williams has said: "We were very happy in Bradford - it was a wonderful place to be married with its views of the moors. We all loved walking and also visiting Haworth because we were great Bronte readers. And the fact that my father's funeral was held here and his ashes are buried in the cathedral makes it is a very special place for our family."

The memorial service will take place at Bradford Cathedral on Tuesday 8 July at 7.00pm. It will include some of Bishop Geoffrey's favourite music, such as Vaughan William's 'Lark Ascending'.

During his visit the Archbishop will also meet people involved in rural, urban and schools ministry as well as attending a civic luncheon and meeting leaders of faith communities.

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