SENIOR clergy from the UK, Europe and the Middle East attended a farewell service for the Bishop of Chichester, Dr John Hind at Holy Cross Church, Uckfield on Saturday.
Her Majesty the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury accepted Bishop John’s resignation which will take effect after 11 years as 102nd Bishop of Chichester. Commenting on the announcement, Bishop John said: “It has been a delight and privilege to serve the Diocese for over a decade and I am very grateful to colleagues both lay and clergy, who work so faithfully for the Gospel and the good of Sussex. Although I shall miss the parishes and people of the Diocese very much, as I shall be nearly 67 I think the time is right for a new bishop to take over, and I am looking forward to an opportunity to continue to fulfil my ministry as a priest without the particular responsibilities of leading a diocese.”
Bishop John is married to Janet, and they have three adult sons; Dominic, Jonathan, and Philip and eight grandchildren. His enthronement as Bishop took place in Chichester Cathedral on 26 May 2001.
In the midst of the political and humanitarian crisis in Syria, the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, His Eminence Gregorios Ibrahim visited England to pay tribute to Bishop John at the service. He gave a powerful and emotional speech about the difficultues facing Christians and Muslims in Syria and the important role that ecumenical friendships play for unity in churches across the world. He spoke movingly about the twinning relationship between Chichester and the historic Turabdin region in South East Turkey, the ‘second Jerusalem’ for the Syriac orthodox church.
His Eminence was joined by other church leaders, Bishop Polycarpus, Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of the Netherlands; Bishop Dorothea Greiner of the Lutheran church in Bavaria and Mgr Dominique Aubert, Dean of Chartres Cathedral.
A portrait of the 102nd Bishop of Chichester by Jane Allison was unveiled at the service. The painting will sit alongside those of previous Bishops of the Diocese in the Bishop’s residence in Chichester.