THE Archbishop of Canterbury led the farewell to the retired Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham, who was sitting in the Synod chamber. He was an “exceptional and extraordinarily gifted liturgist”, Archbishop Welby said, both as Vice-Dean of Norwich and later as Dean of Derby. He was praised for his work in drawing up Common Worship.
Bishop Perham’s recent suspension while historic allegations of abuse were investigated was also mentioned by Archbishop Welby. He said that he was very glad that the Synod was able to thank Bishop Perham wholeheartedly for his ministry after all the investigations and inquiries had cleared him.
On Monday afternoon, the Archbishop also paid tribute to the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, who retires in September. After serving as Bishop of Southampton, he had become the Bishop of Lichfield at a time of “considerable challenges. . . But Jonathan has never been content simply with managing decline; quite the reverse, and he set a determined course for the diocese in a Going-for-growth strategy [that] enabled a change of culture that continues to bear fruit today.”
The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, paid tribute to the 99 Synod members who had indicated that they were not seeking re-election. In the style of Flanders and Swann’s song “The Slow Train”, a remembrance of some of the many railway stations closed during the Beeching era, Dr Sentamu recited the names of some of those who were retiring, after first asking Synod members to make the noise of a train. “No Storkey, no Sugden, no Marshall, no Monckton, no Lilley, no Johns, Jeans, or Dyer, no Gooder, no Key . . . Wow! Train has stopped!”
He singled out several people for special mention, while asking the forgiveness of others for having to be selective. A double act was ending. Christina Rees — congratulated on her CBE — and Prebendary David Houlding had been on opposite sides in the long debates over women bishops. To applause and cheers, they repeated the hug that many had found symbolic during the final stages of the women-bishops Measure.
Turning to Dr Philip Giddings, the Archbishop praised “Philip’s staunch support of the laity, his unwavering commitment to the synodical system, his passion for mission, and his concern for the welfare of staff at Church House”. He also praised the Prolocutor the Ven. Christine Hardman, a “key contributor to the Archbishops’ Council” and other bodies.