There are a series of prayers available for you to offer as we give thanks for Bishop Mike's ministry and seek God's wisdom in the appointment of his successor.
You will also find information which is designed to help you understand the context of the Diocese and the role of the Diocesan Bishop.
As we approach Bishop Mike's retirement and the subsequent vacancy, it is important that the Diocese unites in prayer, both to give thanks for Bishop Mike's ministry among us, and also to pray for all involved in the process of appointing the next Bishop. We also want to pray for Bishop Lee and all who will lead the Diocese through this time of transition.
You may wish to include the following in the intercessions:
- Give thanks for Bishop Mike’s leadership and ministry among us.
- Pray for God’s blessing on him, and Anthea, in retirement.
- Pray for pray for strength and wisdom for Bishop Lee, in the responsibility he will carry during the vacancy.
- Pray for Archdeacon Christine, the diocesan office, and all our Area Deans at this time, as they exercise their ministry among us.
- Pray for the members of the Vacancy in See Committee and all involved in the appointment process. Pray for grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit and that God will raise up the right person to be Bishop of Bristol
- Pray for ourselves as members of the Body of Christ that each may do our part in maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
However you offer your prayers, please remember that the Office of Bishop is now open to men and women equally, so please avoid gender exclusive language in the prayers you use.
The Diocese of Bristol is the Church of England in the areas covered by the City of Bristol, much of South Gloucestershire and North Wiltshire, and the Borough of Swindon.
Over one million people live in this area: more than half of those in the Bristol urban area, and the rest evenly split between the town of Swindon and the towns, villages and rural areas outside these two large conurbations.
Overall, the Diocese broadly mirrors national averages in terms of age and ethnic mix. It is perhaps more secular than the other parts of the country and has a lower proportion of deprivation. However, there are significant differences between, for example, inner Bristol (young, ethnically diverse, more deprived, secular) and the rural areas (older, low levels of diversity and deprivation, more “traditional”).
There are 30,000 people worshipping regularly in more than 200 churches across 160 parishes, while around 15,000 children and young people attend our 70 church schools which serve these communities. These are autonomous organisations that make up the Diocese of Bristol. The Bishop of Bristol has pastoral oversight over them and unifies them in relationship but is not the head of a single organisation.
The Bishop shares that care with the Bishop’s Staff Team, including the Bishop of Swindon and Archdeacon/s, and works with the Diocesan Board of Finance which pays for clergy and ministerial training and support for ministers, parishes and schools through the Diocesan Support Services.
The Diocese of Bristol has a vision of Creating connections – with God, each other and our communities, and priorities of making disciples, growing leaders and engaging younger generations. The Diocesan Bishop leads the overall diocese in following that vision and the central team in supporting them in it.
Diocesan bishops, working together on behalf of the whole Church and the whole nation, need to be priests, evangelists, theologians and prophets as well as stewards and leaders.
A Bishop in the Church of God
As Anglicans we are “part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”. We are called to Christ’s service with our fellow Christians in this country and around the world. Diocesan bishops have a particular role in building relationships into other Churches and in drawing their dioceses and parishes into this wider frame.
Witnessing to the gospel and holding the space for faith
The diocesan bishop has a public profile which provides all sort of opportunities for sharing the Good News. The Bishop as evangelist in a variety of different spaces is increasingly a necessary dimension of our witness and mission.
Public policy and building community
Speaking out for those who might otherwise have difficulty in being heard is a responsibility for all Christians. However, diocesan bishops are presented with opportunities that others do not have. Through invitations to Chair or be members of charities and committees, the Church has had a significant voice on many bodies and institutions nationally, regionally and locally.
Leading and serving the Church of England in its mission and ministry
Collectively bishops have a responsibility to frame and lead the life of the whole Church of England in the context and life of the Gospel. Diocesan Bishops work together to steer the Church of England in discerning its way through issues which require prayer, thought and interpretation through our heritage of scripture, reason and tradition.