Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God

As you read this, the diocese will be in the process of saying “Goodbye”, literally “God Bless You” to Bishop Donald after almost 13 years as Bishop of Peterborough. I hope many of you will be able to share in the special service of thanksgiving in the Cathedral on Sunday 8th when there will be opportunity to express our gratitude for his ministry among us.

I’m thrilled and deeply honoured to have been invited to serve you as Acting Bishop of Peterborough until Bishop Donald’s successor arrives. We have a superb team of senior clergy, excellent diocesan
officers, brilliant office staff and three wise retired bishops to guide us through this year. Our clergy, lay ministers and lay leaders are wonderful servants of Christ and I have every confidence that God will guide us and be good to us. Within that great team, my job is to help you to do your jobs in serving Jesus and your communities, or as one of our amazing Gen2 Youth team prayed for me recently; “to help everyone in the diocese realise their dreams”.

Please pray for everyone involved in discerning our next Bishop. The national Appointments Secretaries will be consulting widely through January and February while the Vacancy in See committee works on a Diocesan Profile. The Crown Nominations Commission will shortlist on June 13th and interview on July 19th and 20th. We hope there might be an announcement in the autumn and the new Bishop will start early in 2024. I believe God has already chosen someone – our task is to find them!

One of Bishop Donald’s special gifts is as a teacher and I’m delighted to announce that for the Bishop’s Bible Day this year we have attracted one of the leading Bible teachers in the country. The Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley, a former Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the author of last year’s powerful Lent Book “Embracing Justice” will give the two keynote addresses on Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd” and Psalm 137 “By the rivers of Babylon”. There will also be the usu- al range of workshops and an opportunity to “grill the bishop”. Saturday 18th March, Northampton High School. Details available soon.

At a recent service in Westminster Abbey, I was delighted to discover that the lec- tern in front of the high altar was a gift in memory of the great Northamptonshire Christian William Carey (1761-1834). He persuaded British Christians to share the good news of Jesus with the wider world, translated the Bible into six languages and served as a pioneer missionary in India. Carey’s great motto “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God” is inscribed on the lectern and has been an encouragement to many for 200 years. Perhaps their reassurance and challenge might be an inspiration to us this year.

‘’Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God’’

With my love, prayers and best wishes,

+John Bishop of Brixworth