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One hundred years young

05 December 2014

IT COMES as a surprise that the diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich is only 100 years old. The ancient Abbey of St Edmundsbury seems to have been a cathedral for ever. But the diocese, carved out of Norwich and Ely in 1914, has just completed a year of centenary celebrations with a great service in the abbey, when 900 people from across Suffolk were joined by 12 bishops to give thanks for its shared history and look forward to the future.

The ceremony began with trumpets sounding the fanfare composed by Benjamin Britten for a Pageant of Magna Carta in 1959, and a great procession of mayors, judges, civic dignitaries, and 200 clergy with all the bishops, including former bishops of the diocese. There were prayers, readings, and music, and children from the diocese danced and sang the "Centenary African Children's Song".

"It's been a tremendous year," the Dean, the Very Revd Dr Frances Ward (front row, second from left), said. "Individuals and churches have deepened their faith in Jesus Christ as they have reflected upon what it means to journey in love in this wonderful county of Suffolk."

During the service, three bishops cut a magnificent centenary cake, made by the assistant diocesan secretary, Canon Graham Hedger, in the form of the cathedral, and bearing the episcopal arms. The service was a perfect end to the centenary celebrations, the Acting Bishop, the Rt Revd David Thomson, said. "This is a time for looking forward as well as back. . . It was a very moving and special way to prepare for a new shared future with a new Bishop."

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