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Remembering... Bishop Peter Vaughan

by Michael Ford last modified 01 May, 2020 05:33 PM

Bishop Peter Vaughan, 27 November 1930 – 4 April 2020, Bishop of Ramsbury from 1989 to 1998.

Remembering... Bishop Peter Vaughan

Bishop Peter and Lis Vaughan- courtesy Diocese of Leeds

We have learnt of the sad passing of Bishop Peter Vaughan, a former Bishop of Ramsbury.

The Archdeacon of Sarum, the Ven Alan Jeans remembers an encourager with humility and graciousness who was responsible for opening up the Diocesan Link with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Latvia:

"Peter was educated at Charterhouse School and Selwyn College, Cambridge before beginning his ordained ministry as a curate at Birmingham Parish Church, followed by an appointment as a chaplain to The Oxford Pastorate based at St Aldate's Church, Oxford.

"As an Evangelical, Peter was excited by teaching and preaching the Gospel, and had a passion for mission. So, it is no surprise that he became the Vicar of Christ Church, Galle Face, Colombo in Ceylon from 1967 to 1972, before becoming the Precentor of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland.

"There he met his wife Elisabeth, who is a New Zealander.

"In 1975 Peter moved back to the UK, to become Principal of Crowther Hall, the Church Mission Society college at Selly Oak in Birmingham, and in 1983 was appointed Archdeacon of Westmorland and Furness, in the Diocese of Carlisle, before moving to Urchfont in Wiltshire in 1989 as the second Bishop of Ramsbury in the modern era. He was Ordained and Consecrated a Bishop in Salisbury Cathedral, by Archbishop Robert Runcie, in what I believe was a very rare ordination of a Bishop in Salisbury Cathedral.

"I was present at that service and assisted, as I was in my final year of training at Salisbury and Wells Theological College. Later that year, Bishop Peter and I were to meet again in the Cathedral as he assisted in my Ordination as a Deacon.

"Four years later, Bishop Peter licensed me to my first Incumbency in Devizes Deanery, and began to take an interest in my zeal for Catholic evangelism and mission. He was very supportive of my ministry, enquired about the latest ideas we were trying out, and was very attentive in coming to our annual Parish Confirmation service, where he confirmed many adults and children at that time. He regularly visited his clergy, and invited them and their families to his home, where Elisabeth and Bishop Peter were kind and generous hosts.

"Although we had different theologies of mission and evangelism, Bishop Peter always gave space for my tradition and understanding, and soon he drew me into the Archbishop’s Springboard Mission Initiative, and the work of the Diocesan Mission Council across the Diocese.

"He encouraged me to be a member of the team which planned a Celebration of Mission weekend in the Cathedral, at which Archbishop George Carey was the significant visitor. In working alongside Bishop Peter, this led to Bishop David Stancliffe appointing me as the first [and last!] Director of Parish Development for the Diocese. Bishop Peter commented, “I’ve taught you all I can about mission and evangelism, but you have exceeded even that, by adding this to your own God-given gifts. Go well, and may God use you to grow the churches of our Diocese!”

Bishop Peter was an encourager in his humility and graciousness.

"Bishop Peter’s experience and love of his missionary journeys in Asia, the Antipodes, and through Africa, gave him a particular affection for our Salisbury – Sudan Link, for which he gave much support.

"As the Iron Curtain was lifting across Europe, and Glasnost appeared in the former Soviet Union, Bishop Peter approached the Archbishop with the idea of creating a Diocesan link with a Church emerging from the restrictions and persecutions of Communism. The Archbishop agreed, and the Diocesan Link with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Latvia was formed, and Bishop Peter made many journeys to Latvia and established a thriving connection between our Cathedral, Bishops, and Parishes.

"On retirement as Bishop of Ramsbury in 1998, Bishop Peter moved to the Diocese of Bradford in Yorkshire, to take up the honorary post of Assistant Bishop. Peter had observed that the then Bishop of Bradford had little episcopal support in his Diocese, and he gave three years to the Diocese of Bradford, working tirelessly as required, supporting and resourcing the Diocese in many mission and ministry initiatives.

"In “proper” retirement he had continued as an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Gloucester."

Bishop Peter died on 4th April 2020 at the age of 89.

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