As I write, I’m still basking in the warmth of the greetings we received at the tremendous Welcome Service at the Cathedral at the beginning of September. The Cathedral, thanks to those who had spent the afternoon sweeping, polishing and flower arranging, gleamed and glowed in the evening sun. The choir of men, boys and girls gave us glorious music and let us in rousing hymns, which were given even more meaning by the beauty of the sign language of our deaf brothers and sisters.
The children from our church schools around the Diocese had sent in postcards of welcome, and following their advice I now know where to find the best burgers, and that the supermarkets of Derbyshire are well worth a visit! A number of mayors were present, as well as the High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant, confirming that the ministry of the church – and bishops - are for everyone in Derbyshire, not just those who are already members.
My husband, Andrew, and I feel thoroughly welcomed into our new church family and want to extend our thanks to all those who put so much work and imagination in to making the service such a memorable occasion, one which very many people have told us they found uplifting and encouraging. Thank you too to the people of Swanwick, which is where the new Repton House is based, who have already welcomed us warmly into the local community. We’re very glad to be here.
And now the work begins! In my address at the cathedral service I said that I’m fully committed to the role of bishop as shepherd, and that, with Bishop Alastair, I’m determined to continue to help the clergy to turn back daily to their specific ministry – to pray, to preach, to pastor. And of course they can only do that when they are encouraged and released for their priestly ministry by a laity who are each exercising their baptismal ministry and playing their full part in the life of the church. We have good news to share with the people of Derbyshire, and I promise you all that I will give you of my very best, to help and encourage us to do just that.