Bishop Andrew Burnham’s Final Sermon as Bishop of Ebbsfleet

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So what am I leaving behind? 75 parishes – not to mention the couple of dozen parishes I lost in Exeter diocese two or three years ago, a loss which I still notice. The mostly wonderful – and otherwise usually loveable – priests who serve those parishes. Fr X who calls a spade an ‘effin’ shovel’. Fr Y whose private generosity to me and support has been extraordinary. Fr Z who gets in touch every few months with yet another tranche of candidates for me to confirm. And then there are those people who must be named: Vicky Hayman and Jackie Ottaway in the office, and former staff, who have kept the whole thing going. Alan who has driven me around for nearly ten years and has heard me gently snoring through the ten o’clock news as he has driven me home. Fr Bill, my chaplain, who has left my stuff behind in a whole variety of sacristies but who has gone round the bun fights doing most of the Bishop’s pastoral work for him. The team has been fabulous. And there are others too: His Honour Mr Judge Patrick, who used to give me free legal advice and support but who, now he’s a judge is no longer allowed to. The two or three deans who have kept in touch on the phone more or less every week for ten years. Talking of which I should mention my Council of Priests, which became a Council of Friends. The people of the parishes, showing time and time again a commitment to the Lord and to each other which I have found humbling, instructive, and life-enhancing. Various key lay people – on the Lay Council, running Brean, turning up at Parish Evangelism Weekends – serving with devotion and skill.

I’m also leaving behind the hugely maddening Anglo-catholic movement: its frailty and fearlessness, its humour and its holiness. It is a home for some slightly disreputable characters – and the ministry of Jesus specialised in being at table with slightly disreputable characters. Ten years touring round the West and the South West has had its moments. No time for anecdotes, but there was the time when I stopped at a service station and bought two cups of tea, which I promptly dropped all over ‘me privates’. From Burnham-on-Sea (Burnham-on-Crouch?) back to Oxford in a sodden suit. What would people have thought had I been on the way there rather than on the way back?

The Anglo-catholic movement has fought a losing battle for 150 years, trying to convince the Church of England that she would be Catholic if only she conformed herself to the Catholic Faith and fully embraced Catholic Faith and Order....

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted November 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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