Know then that you are beloved and valued

These words are from the homily which the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, gave at the midday Eucharist at Southwark Cathedral on Thursday 22 November.  Bishop Christopher had invited the clergy, both women and men, from Southwark Diocese to come to pray together following the vote of the General Synod on Tuesday not to allow women Bishops.

As the service began he noted that the Revd Georgie Heskins was at the altar with him.   He said that he and Georgie had trained for the ministry together and when he had been ordained Deacon in 1983 she had been licensed as a Deaconess. She was ordained Deacon in 1987 and Priest in 1994.  We are, he said, still waiting for the completion of the journey which would allow women to be consecrated to the Episcopate.

In his homily Bishop Christopher spoke of the range of emotions with which everyone had come to this service and of the pain of rejection that this brings to many.  He said, ‘We have seen the bewilderment of politicians, press and parishioners up and down the land following the rejection’ but he said, ‘rest assured we will have women in the Episcopate.  The principle is decided and I am committed to working purposefully to find a way forward.’ He went on to say that as Archbishop Rowan said in his farewell address to General Synod, there is a real need to build trust between all in our Church.

After the service the Bishop met with members of the clergy who wished to speak with him
about the vote.

The full text of the Bishop’s sermon can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/d8atzkr