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Guildford Diocese Welcomes New Bishop At Traditional Inauguration With Personal Touches

Published on: 2 Mar, 2015
Updated on: 2 Mar, 2015

By Emma Nutbrown

Ceremony and tradition were interspersed with personal touches when the tenth Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, was inaugurated at Guildford Cathedral on Saturday (February 28).

Bishop Andrew

Bishop Andrew strikes Guildford Cathedral’s west door with his staff at the start of the service of inauguration.

The service began dramatically with Bishop Andrew, 53, striking the cathedral’s west doors three times with his staff before they were flung open for the occasion which marked the start of the bishop’s formal ministry in the role.

Senior faith and civic leaders from across the region attended the service alongside family and friends from Bishop Andrew’s previous parishes as well as representatives of parishes from across the diocese.

Almost 1,000 people took part in the service, which included traditional elements such as the Archdeacon of Canterbury (representing the Archbishop) leading Bishop Andrew to his bishop’s chair, or ‘cathedra’ before the Dean of Guildford handed him his diocesan crozier or staff.

The service takes place.

The service takes place.

Other elements of the service were distinctly personal with Bishop Andrew’s daughter Hannah, 24, reading the Old Testament lesson, and a George Herbert poem, Love Bade me Welcome, was sung to music written by Bishop Andrew himself.

During the service Bishop Andrew preached on transformation and prayed with words from Desmond Tutu: ‘Goodness is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death; victory is ours through him who loved us. Alleluia!

Bishop Andrew was the Bishop of Aston from 2008-2014 and is married to Beverly, who is also ordained. In addition to Hannah, the couple have three younger children; Sam, 22, Joe, 20, and Lydia, 16.

The new Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson.

The new Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson.

Bishop Andrew said: “We have been made to feel very welcome in the diocese, and it’s good to be getting started.

“Although this region seems quite affluent compared with my previous experience in Birmingham, people are people, and all have emotional and spiritual needs which are powerfully addressed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“There are also many pockets of poverty in surprising places, and it’s sometimes hardest to struggle when others around you are prospering. I’m delighted that Christians in the diocese are running 17 food banks and are involved in a huge range of projects reaching out to those in need – the young, the elderly, and all points in between.

“These are exciting times for the Church worldwide, which has grown more in the past hundred years than all the other centuries put together. In particular I’m pleased that the diocese is linked with Nigeria, whose Christians have a huge amount to teach us in the midst of their many struggles.

“Here in England the Church faces plenty of challenges, not least from a secularising agenda that frequently sees faith as a problem not an opportunity. Surveys show in fact that most of the voluntary work and charitable giving across the country is initiated by churches and other faith-based organisations working with people of all faiths and none.

“My first priority as bishop will be to get out and about across the diocese, meeting as many people as possible and having time to talk and reflect together about what we’re being called to do.

“Although church-going numbers are comparatively high across the region – there are over 28,000 regular worshippers in the diocese – there’s certainly no room for complacency.

“A diocese like Guildford also needs to have a vision that goes way outside its own borders, sharing its abilities and initiatives, its gifted people and financial resources, across the country and way beyond. It’s that sense of extraordinary potential that makes me so excited about all that lies ahead”.

Greetings from the new bishop.

Greetings from the new bishop.

The service was attended by leaders from across Surrey including the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Dame Sarah Goad; the Chief Constable of Surrey, Lynne Owens; the chairman of Surrey County Council, David Munro, Anne Milton MP, Dame Penelope Keith. There were also mayors from boroughs across the diocese and prayers were led by students from Christ’s College, Guildford; The Priory, Dorking; and The Royal School, Haslemere.

Bishop Andrew and his wife Beverly.

Bishop Andrew and his wife Beverly.

In his spare time, Bishop Andrew is a keen rambler, and an accomplished musician playing piano and bassoon. He has published three books.

The previous Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill retired after nine years in the post in November 2013. Bishop Christopher was recently awarded both a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity and more recently a KCVO.

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Responses to Guildford Diocese Welcomes New Bishop At Traditional Inauguration With Personal Touches

  1. Colin McCarthy Reply

    March 9, 2015 at 10:06 am

    I was one of a few people at the entrance of the cathedral when the new Bishop of Guildford struck the West Door with his staff.

    This was the start of the service of inauguration.

    It was a very joyous moment for Bishop Andrew and also a symbolic act.

    My best wishes to Bishop Andrew.

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