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Memories of Bishop Nicholas

by Michael Ford last modified 06 Jul, 2021 04:44 PM

‘A man of the people and a champion of "the lost, the last and the least”, a Bishop that our Diocese has come to know and love.’ That is how Bishop Nicholas, the 78th Bishop of Salisbury, will be remembered.

Memories of Bishop Nicholas

Original photo by Ash Mills

And from Bishop Nicholas himself, during the Evensong to mark his retirement, this prayer:

"Lord God, Thou hast appointed me in the church as bishop and pastor. Thou seest how unfit I am to attend to such a great and difficult office, and if it had not been for Thy help, I would long since have ruined everything. Therefore, I call upon Thee.

"Amen to that. I might have ruined everything. If I haven’t, thanks be to God." 

Memories of Bishop Nicholas- processing into the Cathedral

Bishop Nicholas said his final goodbyes to the Diocese at the livestreamed service from the Cathedral on Saturday, and in return representatives from across the Diocese said a resounding "Thank You".

From in-person presentations to an avalanche of social media posts, the Bishop could be left in no doubt that he will be missed by clergy and laity alike.

Describing our Diocese as "God’s small miracle", the now former Bishop of Salisbury thanked the churches of the Diocese for being "so supportive me as Bishop, particularly in responding so strongly to my role as the C of E’s lead Bishop on the environment."

He reminded everyone of his legacy vision saying "The Diocese of Salisbury renews hope as we pray, serve, grow." 

Memories of Bishop Nicholas- Bishop Karen pays tribute

At the end of the service, which included some of Bishop Nicholas’ favourite music and hymns and a final homily (here), Bishop Karen told her colleague:

"Salisbury has come to know you and love you. You have continued to champion the rights of the deaf and disabled, same sex couples, and being married to a Quaker has given you and Helen a shared awareness of the needs of our partners in the Sudans, and a care for the environment and a determination to support and speak out."

She said how the description of the Bishop as man of the people "has characterised your ministry.  Not a fleeting interest, but a deep concern for the lost, the last and the least." 

You can read the whole of Bishop Karen's speech here.

Memories of Bishop Nicholas- delighted with his gifts

Presentations were made in person by the Diocesan Mothers Union, the Diocesan Guild of Bell Ringers, the Diocesan Board of Education and two choristers from the Cathedral, all of whom thanked the Bishop for his service. 

And, on behalf of the Diocese, Diocesan Secretary David Pain presented Bishop Nicholas with a photobook, a card hand-painted by Nigel Done, our Diocesan Director of Ordinands, containing all the messages collated by the Sherborne Office, and a cheque.

Bishop Nicholas had also generously asked people to give to our Aldhelm Mission Fund in thanksgiving for his ministry and so far over £3000 has been donated to the fund in the Bishop's name.

Memories of Bishop Nicholas- his final sermon as Bishop

In his sermon, Bishop Nicholas commented that "this is a time of enormous and serious change. The tectonic plates of the world are moving in ways that will shape the century". 

Adding that Covid had changed how he could say goodbye:

"We had hoped that Covid restrictions would have been lifted in June so that this service could have been a big gathering of the Diocese of Salisbury. It cannot be, but after such a difficult 16 months it is great to gather with as many as are here and to know others have joined us online in a way that now feels familiar. 

"Meeting online has been a surprising gift during the Pandemic, and it probably means more people are here than could have fitted in in normal times. It has saved time and travel and others can watch again later."

You can watch the whole service here.

View the Bishop's sermon here.

Read a selection of the thanks and comments here.

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