Bishop Nigel: privileged to have served Suffolk
A PACKED Cathedral bade a fond farewell to Bishop Nigel as he left for his new post as Bishop at Lambeth, handing over the clerical reins to Bishop David as Acting Bishop of the diocese.
The service of Evensong and farewell was in turn lighthearted and moving and especially poignant when Bishop Nigel handed over the symbols of office followed by prayers of departure. Addressing the hundreds of well-wishers, he spoke of the past six years in office as ‘the privilege of sitting down with you,’ a phrase that reflected his time in Papua New Guinea earlier in his career.
‘I’m thankful and humbled that I’m in a county where so many organizations are so willing to work with the church,’ he said.
Bishop Nigel had already spoken of the sadness felt by he and Carolyne in leaving Suffolk and his thankfulness for the opportunity to lead the diocese.
‘We are so grateful to God that we were called to be here, and for all the support and care that we have been given,’ he said.
Bishop Nigel will become part of Archbishop Justin Welby’s senior team based in London to develop and implement strategies for every area of Church life.
Making presentations to Bishop Nigel and Carolyne, Dean Frances Ward joked that ‘we quite understand why the Archbishop has poached him.’
And she added: ‘He has been a steady hand with a sense of priority and always mindful of what it means to listen to God.’
Take a closer look at the pectoral cross presented to Bishop Nigel on behalf of the diocese.
Earlier the Dean said Bishop Nigel had been respected by everyone for his wisdom and care, his thoughtful leadership and his friendship.
Bishop David, 61, who is married to Jean with four grown up children and two grandchildren, will serve Suffolk full-time until a permanent Bishop is selected. Speaking ahead of the service he said: ‘There is a great team here, and we will be forging ahead. It won't be my role to impose my ideas, but with up to 18 months before a new Bishop is in post we will not be shy of making good change together when we see it is needed.
‘The Bishop of Ely has very generously released me from all my duties as Bishop of Huntingdon, so in effect this is a full-time appointment to Suffolk to serve as acting Bishop.
‘I have always worked in teams, all my parishes roles were in team ministry, and teamwork is in my DNA. I want to build hope and confidence in our Church’s mission during my time serving Suffolk, and if I achieve this, I will be very happy.’
The Dean said she was especially pleased to welcome Bishop David as the acting bishop to oversee the forward direction of the diocese and, at his farewell service, Bishop Nigel reiterated his gratitude to the Diocese of Ely and to Bishop David.
‘We can’t thank you enough,’ he said.
Bishop David, who has wide parish experience of both rural and urban communities and who embraces new media including blogging as a way of communicating good news, said: ‘So many important things have been put in place by Bishop Nigel and his team and there is a really good platform on which to build.’
Born into a vicarage family in Sunderland, Bishop David grew up in Sheffield, later reading English at Oxford where he completed his doctorate, and studying at Cambridge for the ministry.
He has a particular commitment to work with young people and his hobbies include: exploring the countryside, gardening, looking at paintings, reading old detective stories and completing challenging crosswords in The Times on Saturday.
Suffolk Historic Churches Trust celebrates 40 years
A landmark for the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust was marked by a celebration service at Stratford St Mary at which the former Archbishop of Canterbury, now the Rt Revd and Rt Hon. the Lord Williams of Oystermouth, delivered the sermon.
It was standing room only as the Rector the Revd Rosalind Paul extended a warm welcome before handing over to Bishop David to lead the service.
Lord ‘Rowen’ Williams used the comments in church visitors’ books that constantly crop up such as ‘peaceful’ and ‘quiet’ to expand on the theme of space and silence.
‘Churches are places that draw the quietness out of you,’ he said.
‘The whole work of Jesus is about uncluttering and unblocking. We need to work hard to keep these spaces open and alive – to discover the quiet to grow and flourish.’
Talking about the opportunity that church buildings provided for wellbeing, he said that wellbeing was often linked with wealth and in fact it was true that churches used to be a sign of conspicuous wealth, one village competing with another.
But he said the wealth of ‘village grandees’ had turned into another kind of wealth of which we were trustees for future generations so that ‘churches can be places where God can build his joy and trust’.
He praised the work of the Trust for all it has done over the past 40 years to care for churches ‘as a witness to what God has built – a place in which to build on his glory and generosity.’