Bishop Lee gives moving farewell prayer at Cathedral Chrism Service

First published 14th April 2023

On Maundy Thursday, a Chrism Eucharist service was held at Bristol Cathedral. The Cathedral welcomed 300 people including licensed lay ministers, priests, diocesan staff and members of the public. 

The service was found to be particularly moving by members of the Clergy, as Bishop Lee gave his farewell sermon, saying: 

"The Maundy Thursday Service at Bristol Cathedral, with its Renewal of Commitment to Ministry and the Blessing of Oils has been a particularly special occasion for me since becoming a Bishop in our diocese. I knew it would be even more significant when Bishop Viv suggested it could be the right moment for me to say my farewells at the West End of the diocese. It proved to be more than either Liz or I could have anticipated and a deeply humbling yet affirming experience of love and grace." 

Bishop Lee officially announced his retirement as Bishop of Swindon in February.

His final prayer was a catalyst of emotion when he spoke the words, “Pray for your Bishops, that despite our unworthiness we may be faithful to the great trust that has been handed to us. Pray that we may become more like our Good Shepherd and great High Priest, the teacher and servant of us all and so become more and more a sign of Christ’s loving presence among you.” 

After the service, he said: "I found these words overwhelming because of the powerful sense of God’s love for us which those in the Cathedral Church were multiplying through their own loving presence. The prayer concluded with the plea to pray for the families of those who minister, for their homes, and for all with whom they share their lives, more words which have rung in my own heart over the years that I have had the privilege of leading this prayer on Maundy Thursday." 

"Liz and I want to express our gratitude to all those who came to wish us well in our retirement, and who helped to make that occasion such a memorable one. The service itself, including Bishop Viv’s insightful sermon on the gospel reading, was a timely and important reminder of the love which binds us together and can hold us together in testing times. 

Thank you all  for the blessing you have been to us for nigh on 18 years. Whoever my successor might be, he or she will find themselves in a diocese within a very special part of God’s vineyard." 

Bishop Lee's last farewell will be at Pattern Church in Swindon at the end of this month. 


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