Farewell to the Bishop of Ely
Some of the four choirs at the Farewell Service
Churchgoers across Cambridgeshire and north west Norfolk packed Ely Cathedral to hear the Rt Revd Dr Anthony Russell preach his last sermon as the 68th Bishop of Ely today (Saturday 23 January 2010). Dr Russell retires from Ely after ten years of being pastor and leader, overseeing the affairs of the Diocese.
The Archdeacons presenting gifts
The Bishop also celebrated Holy Communion after which tributes were given for his ministry, leadership and outstanding contribution to diocesan life. His wife, Sheila, was also thanked for her support, friendship and hospitality.
The Archdeacon of Ely, the Ven John Beer, and Archdeacon of Wisbech and Huntingdon, the Ven Hugh McCurdy, presented Dr Russell with a cheque and other gifts from members of the Diocese.
They thanked him for his encouragement and support as well as his leadership during last year’s 900th anniversary celebrations of the Diocese. Mrs Russell was given a large bouquet of flowers.
In his sermon, Dr Russell thanked everyone for their kindness and support “in such a generous and affirmative way” during his time in the Diocese.
“It has been a particular privilege to be the 68th Bishop of Ely and to serve during the period in which the Diocese has been celebrating its 900th anniversary,” he said.
Bishop Anthony laying down his pastoral staff
“I pay tribute to all those who have played a part in organising local and diocesan events, clergy conferences, exhausting walks to Cambridge, the visits to the Diocese from both Archbishops, the Royal Visit in November, enjoyable events in schools and with children in parishes, and a host of other local occasions.
“I am grateful to the parishes for the enthusiasm with which this initiative has been taken up,” he added.
At the close of the service, the Bishop placed his pastoral staff on the altar symbolising the relinquishment of his office. The Bishop of Huntingdon, Dr David Thomson, blessed the Bishop and Mrs Russell.
The Bishop of Huntingdon blessing Bishop Anthony and his wife Sheila
Dr Thomson will have oversight of the Diocese until a new Bishop of Ely is installed. It is anticipated that the new Bishop will be named in July 2010 and be in office by the end of the year.
Photos © Phil Sharkey
More photos of the Farewell Service © Owen Spencer-Thomas
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