There are many things I shall miss when I retire. One is writing these brief articles for parish magazines. After some 41 years of writing articles and editorials you might think I would be pleased to stop. However, over the years this is one way I have been able to keep in touch with people and offer encouragement and support to all that is happening in the life of our churches and communities.
In the ordination service for bishops the liturgy begins with the words: ‘Bishops are called to serve and care for the flock of Christ. Mindful of the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep, they are to love and pray for those committed to their charge, knowing their people, and being known by them.’ These monthly articles are one way in which I seek to ‘be known’ across the diocese.
As I prepare to retire, I want to express my huge appreciation for the welcome I have received in all the parishes and places that I have visited. It has been an enormous privilege to join the churches of the diocese to see what you are doing, to preach and to share in your worship. I am conscious that despite getting out and about across the whole diocese there are still some churches which I have not visited, and I am sorry about that.
Reading the ordination service, I see that as disciples we are all called to ‘witness to the resurrection and to preach the good news of salvation in all the world.’ That is a calling and a privilege which will not stop as I lay down the See of Bath and Wells. It is at the heart of what it is to be part of the Body of Christ. So, as I say my farewells, I send you my blessing. Please know that my prayers will continue to be with you.
Yours with the love of Christ,