The two Deans of the Channel Islands embarked on a pilgrimage from Winchester Cathedral to Salisbury Cathedral as a symbol of the islands’ journey to join the diocese of Salisbury.
The Dean of Jersey, Mike Keirle, and the Dean of Guernsey, Tim Barker, are the most senior Anglican clergy in the Channel Islands. Their walk symbolized the transfer of the oversight of their churches to the Bishop of Salisbury. The Islands were formerly under the care of the Diocese of Winchester.
Salisbury’s links to the Channel Islands go back to the 15th century when, in 1496, Pope Alexander VI endorsed a connection. The first bishop to make a formal visit to the Islands in the modern era was a bishop of Salisbury, in 1818.
Jersey has 19 churches and Guernsey 17.
The two Deans will be made canons of Salisbury Cathedral on Thursday, with the Lieutenant Governors of the Islands in attendance.
Their pilgrimage followed the 27 mile route of the Clarendon Way, through Hampshire and Wiltshire.
The Very Rev Mike Keirle said: “This pilgrimage is a way of saying farewell to the Diocese of Winchester and heading to our welcome in Salisbury. For the people in the islands, we are looking forward to belonging to the diocese of Salisbury and being part of something much bigger. We know our priests and people will be able to flourish in the diocese.”
The Dean of Guernsey, the Very Rev Tim Barker, said: “Our new relationship with the Diocese of Salisbury is important, both for accountability and because we all have much to give and receive, that will enhance and strengthen our common life in Christ. The pilgrimage which the two deans are undertaking is a recognition that there is much for which we give thanks in the long relationship with the Diocese of Winchester and its bishops, and that the two bailiwicks are looking forward to continuing our journey together with the Bishop of Salisbury and the wider diocesan community.”
Clergy in the Channel Islands have already come over to spend time in the diocese and meet with the Bishop.
The Bishop of Salisbury, Stephen Lake, will welcome them into the Cathedral. He said: “The addition of the parishes of the Channels Islands has grown the diocese by 13 per cent. We are very pleased to be able to join with them, and to work with them, to serve the needs of our communities, together.”
Read Bishop Stephen's sermon during the service to admit the two Dean as Canons of Salisbury Cathedral.