'Together we have sought to bring a richness of life' - Bishop of Norwich delivers final sermon before retirement
PUBLISHED: 17:59 25 November 2018 | UPDATED: 20:01 25 November 2018
(c) 2018 Archant Norfolk Prospect House Rouen Road Norwich
An emotional goodbye was said to the Bishop of Norwich as the small parishes in Norfolk were recognised for their part in the county's Christian community.
The Rt Revd Graham James, Lord Bishop of Norwich, will soon retire after nearly two decades serving the Diocese of Norwich.
And Norwich Cathedral was packed with well-wishers on Sunday evening for a service of thanksgiving in his honour.
Delivering his final sermon, which brought laughter to the many gathered to give thanks, Bishop Graham paid tribute to the small parishes of Norfolk, which he said when combined had more people than the city of Norwich.
He said: “In this diocese remember, we have over 300,000 people living in parishes with a population of less than 1,000.”
And he said they had been as important to him as those in the city.
He said: “I thank God for all who have invited me to work with them these past years in this diocese.
“Together we have sought to bring a richness of life, to those whose lives were poor in health or education, to those with few financial resources, to those whose opportunities the world too easily closes down and to those whose lives were coming to their close.”
As well as hymns, prayers, and readings, a special Cornish prayer was composed by Ashley Grote for the occasion.
Bishop Graham and his wife Julie will move back to his native Cornwall on his retirement.
Bishop Graham said while he “ran the risk of bidding a regretful goodbye” to Norfolk he would instead rejoice at his time in the county.
Thanking Bishop Graham The Very Revd Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich, said: “We give thanks for the faithfulness of God’s calling of him and for all that Graham and Julie have brought to this diocese and to each one of us. As we express our gratitude for a long and distinguished ministry, we also come to bid Bishop Graham and Julie Godspeed as their time here comes to a close and they look to what God is calling them to next.”