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General Synod digest: Archbishops bid farewell to Bishops of Winchester and Liverpool

18 February 2022

Diocese of Winchester

Dr Dakin pictured in February 2020

Dr Dakin pictured in February 2020

Farewells

BIDDING farewell to the retiring Bishop of Winchester, Dr Tim Dakin, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “It is well known that the past years have not been easy and have been filled with much pain and distress” (News, 20 May 2021). Archbishop Welby thanked Dr Dakin for his contribution to church growth and social engagement and to mission and ministry in the Church of England and Anglican Communion over “very many” years.

“Wherever Tim has served he has been very clear on focusing on what he believes are the priorities and aiming to respond to what he understood God was calling Him to do,” Archbishop Welby said. Dr Dakin had always drawn attention to world Christianity; he had led the Church Mission Society and was a member of the Inter-Anglican Commission of Mission and Evangelism and the C of E’s Board of Mission and Public Affairs and its Partnership for World Mission. He had also carried out “important work” for the Church Army as Principal of Carlile College, Kenya, where he had also been a member of the provincial synod and the board of theological education.

During his ministry as Bishop of Winchester, Dr Dakin had contributed extensively to the world of higher education, the Archbishop said, and had been part of the team that put together the C of E’s strategy on education, besides working on Living in Love and Faith, the Faith and Order Commission, and being a significant contributor to missional ecclesiology. As an episcopal member of the Advisory Council for Religious Communities, Dr Dakin had also supported work on canons that gave “renewed recognition” to the place of these communities in the Church.

Dr Dakin’s wife, the Revd Sally Dakin, had supported him throughout his ministry and exercised her own ministry; she was spirituality adviser in Winchester.

Archbishop Welby concluded: “This last season has been painful — for Tim, for Sally, for many others — but, as we say farewell, I am reminded of God’s promise in Lamentations 3.22/23, that ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; that his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.’” He expressed his thanks and prayers on behalf of Synod as the couple moved to a new life in Plymouth.

Diocese of LiverpoolBishop Bayes leaves his farewell service at Liverpool Cathedral on Saturday

The Archbishop of York said farewell to the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, and his wife, Kate, who were in the gallery. Pictures from Bishop Bayes’s ministry were displayed. “Some years ago, when Bishop Paul was the Church of England’s Officer for Evangelism, I attended a talk he was giving on the subject of how we might share our faith with those outside the Christian community. These were still the days of overhead projectors.”

The first slide had been a cartoon of a timid-looking man peering out of his front door only to see two ducks on the doorstep. The caption read: “Excuse us for bothering you this evening, Sir, but have you ever considered becoming a duck?”

The Archbishop said: “It was a wonderful way of illustrating the gap — or we might even say the gulf — between those of us who are embedded in the Christian culture and those who are not — and just how absurdly and extravagantly weird it feels to be invited from one culture and one set of values into another.”

The cartoon also expressed “all that is good, arresting, challenging, and often provocatively uncomfortable about the witness and the joyful ministry” of the retiring Bishop. “Because Paul is passionate to share the Gospel with those who do not know it.”

Bishop Bayes had a “great heart” for those who were excluded, marginalised, and left behind by the Church, Archbishop Cottrell said. He had been a champion for the rights and dignities of LGBT+ people, and the Church had seen and received that ministry in the Synod, the House of Bishops, Liverpool diocese, and the public square. “Paul, you know that this has not always made you popular; yet it has never deterred you from speaking with passion, conviction, determination, often at personal cost. But always your passion is shot through with a gentleness of spirit and kindness, for we know that you care for every bit of the Church and long for our unity as well as our greater inclusion.”

Members of the Triangle of Hope Initiative (from the dioceses of Liverpool, Kumasi, in Ghana, and Virginia, in the United States) were in the gallery. The Synod welcomed them with a round of applause. The initiative remembered and stood against the blight of modern slavery and human trafficking in each of the dioceses, the Archbishop explained.

Bishop Bayes had been ordained deacon aged 25, served his title in Newcastle diocese, and had become an ecumenical university chaplain in London. He had experienced multi-parish benefice ministry in High Wycombe, in Oxford diocese, before becoming the Church’s evangelism adviser. “Staff in the NCIs still remember Paul with great affection, not least him dressing up as Father Christmas each year,” Archbishop Cottrell said.

Colleagues had spoken warmly of his pastoral ministry when he was Bishop of Hertford, and his communications skills, which had very briefly been put to use in the House of Lords. One had written: “Paul has always shared his episcope; we were always colleagues, friends. He enabled us to walk alongside him, encouraging answers and solutions. We work with him not for him.”

In his inaugural sermon in Liverpool Cathedral in 2014, Bishop Bayes had spoken of a table with a place for everyone: “It is still talked about today,” the Archbishop said. “Everyone welcome, everyone with a place.” Bishop Bayes had been so determined by this that when asked which football team he supported, red or blue, he had replied: “Ormskirk West End.”

Archbishop Cottrell wished Bishop Bayes and his family well in his retirement. “I hope you know the high regard with which you are held by the Church you serve so well, and we thank you for giving the best years of your life in the service of the gospel.”

The whole Synod stood to applaud.

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