A correspondent writes:
ANGLICAN bishops come in many shapes and sizes, but the Rt Revd
John Bone, who died on 5 July, aged 83, was a great example of the
quiet, reliable bishop who was trusted by many, worked hard, and
never sought the limelight.
Born in 1930, he was educated at Monkton Combe School. After
National Service, he took his degrees at St Peter's College,
Oxford, and gained a Certificate in Education at Whitelands
College, London. He did his ordination training at Ely Theological
College. On ordination, in 1956, he became curate at St Gabriel's,
Warwick Square, Pimlico, for four years. He then moved to
Berkshire, where he was successively Vicar of Henley (1960-63) and
of Datchet (1963-76). He became Rural Dean of Burnham, a post that
he retained when he became Rector of the multi-racial parish of
Slough, working with a team of clergy.
By then, he was a much respected figure in the diocese of
Oxford; so it was no surprise when he was appointed Archdeacon of
Buckingham in 1978.
In this post, he worked closely with the Bishop of Buckingham,
the Rt Revd Simon Burrows, who had arrived two years earlier. The
great challenge they faced was the development of the new town of
Milton Keynes, working both with the development corporation, and
with the other Churches, with a common ecumenical strategy.
Bone was the sort of person who encouraged the clergy and looked
after them well; at the same time, he knew his own mind, and stood
up for what he thought to be right. He was a General Synod member
from 1980 to 1985, and was consecrated Bishop of Reading in
He gave strong pastoral care to the Reading clergy. In the
diocese, he played an important part in the Board of Social
Responsibility, in the development of ministry, and in the diocesan
advisory committee. A considerable administrator, he always had
everything well documented and well ordered, which made life easy
for his successors. A quiet, wise preacher, he always preached with
relevance and humour. He retired to Henley in 1996.
In retirement, he was an assistant bishop in the diocese. For
many years, he was Bishop Visitor to the All Saints' Sisters of the
Poor, and enabled them to cope with some significant decisions,
over their declining numbers, and in their work with children's
hospices and the care of the homeless. He helped out in many
pastoral situations. He was a person with sound judgement, who
could always be trusted.
His great interest was topography, and he had a large collection
of books and maps. He was also a keen walker, and a lover of
classical music. Early in 2014, illness caused him to give up all
pastoral work. More than 400 people attended his funeral in Reading
Minster, which, at his request, was conducted by Sister Margaret
Anne, of the All Saints' Sisters.
He had married Ruth Crudgington in 1954. They had three sons
(one adopted) and two daughters. They all survive him.