Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The new Bishop of Rochester

It has been announced today that the new Bishop of Rochester is to be the Rt Revd. James Langstaff, who is currently Bishop of Lynn, a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Norwich. I am sure we will all want to pray for him and wish him well as he and his wife make the move to Rochester.

You can read more about him here, and I have pasted the letter he sent to the clergy below.

"Dear Brothers and Sisters
By the time you read this letter, it will have been announced that I am to be your new diocesan bishop. I am very conscious of the privilege and responsibility of this calling and am writing to you today as much as anything to for ask your prayers as I prepare to join you later in the year. I know that you will also continue in your prayers for Bishop Brian and other members of diocesan staff as they carry additional responsibilities until my arrival.

You will find some information about me and my family in the press release on the Diocese of Rochester web-site. A very brief summary is that I was ordained deacon in 1981 and have spent about 20 of the subsequent years in parish ministry, mainly in the Diocese of Birmingham in both inner urban and suburban settings; I have been Bishop of Lynn since 2004. Within the Diocese of Norwich I have had a particular interest in and oversight of the church’s engagement with social and community concerns; this overlaps with a long-standing involvement in social and affordable
housing. For the last few years I have chaired Housing Justice, which is the national ecumenical voice on homelessness and housing issues.

At heart I remain a parish priest and believe that our commitment to expressing the church’s pastoral, prayerful and missionary presence in each community or neighbourhood is a particular gift that the Church of England brings to our nation. I have also come to value greatly the expression of Christian presence which is embodied in chaplaincies and other ministries within a variety of institutional and other settings. Such effective Christian presence can take many forms,and I am very keen to foster both traditional and innovative expressions of that presence.

I will have a huge amount to learn as I come to the Diocese of Rochester in relation both to church life and the community more widely. In the early months I will need to do a great deal of listening and learning. Most important will be getting to know people within and beyond the churches, and in particular I look forward to early opportunities for meeting the clergy, lay ministers and lay leaders across the Diocese. I trust that we will soon come to know and respect one another, as we also grow in our shared commitment to God in Christ and our desire to spread abroad the good news of his generous love.

Our two children, Alasdair and Helen, are both adult and live elsewhere, but Bridget and I very much look forward to moving to Rochester and making our home among you.
With my prayers and good wishes,
James, Bishop of Lynn"

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