Thursday 26 November 2009

Goodbye Southampton

Tonight we met in the Parish Church of Romsey (Ss Mary & Ethelflaeda, aka Romsey Abbey) to say farewell to Paul Butler who is to become Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham in 2010. The great and the good were there, together with a few clergy and rather more bishops. One of the bishops was Crispin, RC bishop of Portsmouth who once told me he hoped not to receive many former Anglican priests since he would not know what to do with them. He seemed a little sad that at the same time Couve de Murville of Birmingham was bringing them over by the cartload. Two of the other bishops were from Africa; Paul is Chair(man?) of CMS.

There was some good music from the choir & organ, and some other music from a Music Group from Highfield Church - seen [above] dismantling some of their gear. I needed to be sure they were going - rather like bagpipes, such offerings are better heard at a distance. Unfortunately Jane and I had been sitting with the official guests, in direct line of fire from this group. The central section of the service (evensong, we were told) was to be three worship songs - or so the programme promised. By the time there had been reprises and choruses it seemed about as long as the Ring Cycle ... well, perhaps it earns time off purgatory.

The Bishop of Basingstoke was in attendance. He soon departs for Dover where he is to be the Archbishop's right hand person in the diocese of Canterbury. Alas I am not able to be at his farewell, but I am sure there will be many there to see him off.

Now that he is losing both his Suffragans at once, Bishop Michael of Winchester will be looking to appoint their successors before he himself retires. If you have suggestions you might like to try giving him some names. It won't do much good, though. As he told me, there are so many women priests in the diocese, and so few Resolution C parishes, that it would be very difficult to appoint a traditionalist. The reason, of course, that there are so few C parishes is that we once had Bishop Geoffrey Rowell here and so were told 'no need to take any resolutions; you can always have Bishop Geoffrey'. Now it is too late. Blackburn, London and Chichester dioceses, take note.

I have agreed to undertake a few confirmations during the interregnum to ease the diocesan's burden - though if the Ordinariate get up and running quickly I shall perhaps not be able to fulfil all those engagements.

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