26 February 2012

Tears, laughter, and goodbye

Today was the liturgical farewell for our Bishop Tom Brown, who has been the Diocesan Bishop of Wellington for 14 years and was the Assistant Bishop here for 7 years before that. Bishop Tom Confirmed hubby and me; he has been a source of personal encouragement in my various vocation wanderings; he has ministered to us, laughed with us, rejoiced with us when our small daughter arrived; he has been a friend and a leader. I will miss Bishop Tom!

It was a wonderful service. The music from the Cathedral Choir was outstanding as usual. We had a sermon from Archdeacon Judy Hardie; speeches from the Chancellor, Ven Robert McClay; the ex-Mayor of Wellington, Kerry Prendegast; and Archbishops Phillip Aspinall (Brisbane, Australia) and David Moxon (Waikato and Co-presiding Bishop of New Zealand). I thought the Chancellor was a little long-winded, but the two Archbishops were fabulous. Serious, beautiful, funny, engaging. Bishop Tom had the right of reply, and he was also engaging and wonderfully funny. One joke he made really stuck with me: his small granddaughter was looking at a book on Christianity he had on his coffee table, and asked him seriously, "Are you a Christian?" Apparently his son said, "It goes with the job description!"

It was sad to see Bishop Tom lay his crozier down on the altar for the last time, and weird to have the blessing given by Archbishop David instead of Bishop Tom. When Bishop Tom was escorted to the cathedral door by the Dean the thought occurred to me that maybe they were making sure he left! One lovely thing happened as they were escorting him out: some of the young people had gone up into the roof and dropped what looked like hundreds of large pieces of coloured confetti - but turned out to be coloured notes written by the children of the diocese. What a lovely idea!

We finished with a barbeque (how Kiwi is that!), and then came home. It was long, but it was lovely. And now the waiting time, the interregnum, begins. I am awaiting the arrival of a packet from the Electoral College next week with information on the candidates....

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