So the end of a year that had the unexpected twist of being called to leave Southwell & Nottingham and move to Durham. This makes the year ahead I’ll of excitement and anticipation with all this new challenge holds. But reflecting on that will wait for the New Year. This is simple reflections back on 2013.
MOST PRIVILEGED MEETING
President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi. Agreed to give myself & 3 MPs 10 minutes but actually gave us 35 entirely privately.
MOST FASCINATING VISIT
Rwanda & Burundi on this occasion because of travelling with 3 MPs (John Mann & his wife Jo White, Lilian Greenwood & Graham Jones) alongside excellent companions from the Diocese (Sarah Clark & Poppy Richards) and Christian Aid (Andy Clasper). It meant we had an entirely different dynamic, seeing church work through different eyes, and having parliamentary life and other organisations opened up to us. The model worked. The outcomes are still being worked through. You also learn to respect MPs afresh.
MOST AMAZING EVENT
The whole day in Durham on September 12th when the announcement of my appointment to Durham was made. Brilliant start in South Shields school; staggering number of people in Durham Cathedral; moving visit to Easington; warm welcome in Barnard Castle & great visit to see Lindisfarne Gospels. Amazed by level of media interest and coverage. Certainly made some of the expectations and demands clear.
Prayer Walk around Newstead Deanery. So many good people to talk with; interesting places and projects to visit. Prayer walks definitely one of the best things I do as a bishop.
Finally moving into new diocesan offices, Jubilee House, in June. Then official opening in November. Great new building and wonderful artwork.
My farewell service in Southwell Minster at the end of November. Such a huge crowd; humbling tributes and so many reminders of the great clergy and people of the diocese. It is hard saying goodbye and leaving but it is the right thing to do.
& the very special privilege of seeing the Christmas Dr Who on a big screen in Nottingham as guest of BBC East Midlands
Elbow most listened to, looking forward to their new album.
Sting’s Last Ship Sails most enjoyed new album.
Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons worship song that is most expressive personally.
Bede’s Life of Cuthbert. Given the impending move probably not a great surprise. Bede’s buried one end of Durham Cathedral and Cuthbert at the other.
It has been quite a year. What makes me proudest still are my amazing family – Rosemary, Caroline, David, Andrew & Sarah. They are wonderful and all doing some great stuff for God and for the common good.
God’s grace is as amazing as ever. Many things can never be fully understood or explained but the coming into the world of Jesus, his death for us all and his rising again are how we are forgiven and brought back to God. They make sense of the world.
Making Jesus known so that God is known has to be the priority for 2014 and beyond.