A wonderfully warm and bright late September afternoon in Lichfield Cathedral could not have been a better setting for the send off for Bishop Jonathan after 12 years of dedicated service to the diocese.
The Cathedral’s bells tolled melodically across the city and the three spires reached into the blue skies from the Autumn turning trees overhanging the river.
Inside the Cathedral the sun streamed in and mixed with the blue and magenta light to create an atmosphere of welcome and humble celebration. Bishop Jonathan’s humbleness was something all the speakers alluded to in their tributes.
The hymns, readings and music were chosen by Bishop Jonathan including Laudate Dominum from Mozart’s Vespers sung by the choir and soloist Harriet Hunter. Following the Bishop’s last address, the choir and congregation were encouraged to sing Dona Nobis Pacem – ‘a bit of fun’ that Bishop Jonathan wanted to bring to the day. It certainly did. The choir led the way with two verses and the congregation were conducted to sing another two verses in full voice and then to sing in tandem with the choir for the final two verses.
Everyone smiled with Bishop Jonathan as the last words drifted into the Cathedral’s beautiful vaulted roof and the Bishop of Wolverhampton took to the pulpit to pay great tribute to The Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill, the Bishop of Lichfield and his learned and kind partner Jane who has contributed and supported her husband and ministry.
The formal ‘Laying up of the Pastoral Staff’ saw the Bishop pass the staff to the Dean for safe keeping. On receiving the staff the Dean promised to keep it safe until the installation of the 99th successor of St Chad of Bishop of the Diocese if Lichfield, before laying it on the alter.
The procession then moved through the Nave, the choir to the North Nave and the Clergy led the way to the West Doors where the Bishop met members of the Congregation and received their thanks and good wishes to both Jonathan and Jane in their new life ahead.
The evening sun shined to bless the Bishop’s family with continued warmth.
Many people attended a reception in the Cathedral School Gardens and heard further tributes and gift making from nearby and international representatives including The Black Country, Germany and Malaysia.
I’m sure the Lichfield Cathedral Website will soon have much more in depth photo and film coverage of the historic and moving proceedings.
there is a gallery of pictures from the day here :