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Viewpoint from Rt Rev Dr Alan Winton 17/08/2018

alan wintonRt Rev Dr Alan Winton
Bishop of Thetford


as published in the Yarmouth Mercury


The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James, will be retiring early next year after 20 years in post.  He’ll be returning in retirement to Cornwall, the county in which he was raised.  There is much to give thanks for in his ministry in the diocese but there will be huge sadness at seeing Bishop Graham and his wife, Julie, leaving us after such a long period of service and friendship
The process to appoint a new Bishop of Norwich has already begun.  Because of the distinctive nature of a Bishop’s ministry, it is a process involving collaboration between the diocese and the national church
dove leftAs a diocese, we are required always to have in place something called a Vacancy-in-See committee.  For years on end, this is one of the best committees to serve on, because it has nothing to do!  However, it comes into play as soon as a Diocesan Bishop announces his or her intention to retire.  The committee’s role is then to draw up a description of the diocese, a sense of the vision we are working to and the challenges we face.  Out of these, we are also invited to set out what we believe are the qualities we feel we need in our new bishop

From this committee, 6 representatives are elected to join 6 representatives of the national church on something called the Crown Nominations Commission.  This will meet twice, under the leadership of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to consider possible candidates in the light of all evidence about what the diocese needs
Dove rightThe name of the preferred candidate (along with one reserve) will be forwarded to the Prime Minister, and then her Majesty the Queen, before the announcement of the new Bishop of Norwich can be made
Anyone wishing to put forward their own views about the challenges facing the new bishop and the qualities that such a person will need can do so.  It is also possible for suggestions of candidates to be made. This can be done through writing to a member of the Vacancy-in-See Committee (contact details are on the diocesan website) and there will also be an advertisement in the national Church press in September inviting contributions
Perhaps the most important thing any of us can do is to pray for a new bishop who will lead us well, and this is the prayer we are offering:

Eternal God, our shepherd and guide, in your mercy give your Church in this Diocese
a shepherd after your own heart who will walk in your ways,
and with loving care watch over your people.
Give us a leader of vision and a teacher of truth.
So may your Church grow and be built up,
and by your grace accomplish more than we can imagine,
for the glory of your name, through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen



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