The weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of September 2018 will be remembered long into the future in the diocese of Durham as it was the weekend where it formally said farewell and thank you to The Rt Revd Mark Bryant for his ministry as Bishop of Jarrow over the last eleven years.
At services at Durham Cathedral, Bishop Mark said his first goodbyes at the annual Readers Service on Saturday 22nd and then the whole diocese gathered on Sunday 23rd to be part of his last Eucharist and to wish him and his Wife Elisabeth a fond farewell.
Bishop Mark gave the sermon in which he recounted the last 11 years in the diocese saying he couldn’t imagine how he was going to start thanking God for the amazing time he and Elisabeth spend here. He talked of people being raised up by there encounters saying: “I want […] to express my thanks and admiration to the clergy and people of this diocese for all that you do to engage in that task of raising people up, by proclaiming liberty to captives and the recovery of sight to the blind.
“I want to thank you for your faithfulness and your kindness to me. I know that at times it can be tougher than probably your Bishops understand. I know that there are times when you wonder whether it is worthwhile or whether what you are doing is really wanted anymore, and I am aware that, for many of you, the pressures on you grow ever greater by the day, but can I, as I wander off into the sunset, encourage you just to stick with it, so that, through the lives of the Christian communities in this diocese, good news may continue to be preached and that people may be raised up to sit with princes and to receive a seat of honour. [ Click for full sermon Farewell Sermon.pdf]
The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, lead the presentations to Bishop Mark and Elisabeth saying: “Where to start – you have been here for eleven years, prior to that you held roles in Coventry and Guilford before being invited here by Bishop Tom. He can’t be here today but said to me: ‘Probably the best decision I made in Durham was to appoint Bishop Mark to Jarrow. He was a wonderful colleague, a wise man of God, and a much-valued friend. He and Elisabeth have been a great gift to the Church and the wider community in the North-East.’ Tom highlight one the things that we most value in you is that you act as a conscience – your work with the poor and disadvantaged is remarkable.”
Bishop Paul said on the announcement of Bishop Mark’s retirement: “Bishop Mark has been a great servant to the Diocese and the region over these last eleven years and I want to personally thank him on behalf of the whole Diocese for everything he has done, for the energies he has brought to being Bishop of Jarrow and to his ministry here in the North East.”
Bishop Paul’s presentation address.
Pictures from the Reader service can be purchased here.
Pictures from the Farewell Service can be purchased here.