Bishop Steven's Farewell

19th July 2016

Bishop Steven Croft writes:

"Dear Friends

Thank you for all your messages and greetings over the last few weeks at the various “farewell events”.  The final service in the Cathedral on 17th July was full of hope and joy.  Thanks to those who were able to be there in person and to all who took part in the service.  Thank you too on behalf of Ann and myself for the gifts of flowers, the cutlery made in Sheffield and for the very generous cheque.  We intend to buy some furniture for our new home in Oxford. 

Portraits of the first six bishops of Sheffield hang in the corridor of the Cathedral leading to the chapter house.  They are well worth going to see when you next visit the Cathedral.  I have said to the Dean and Chapter that I will gladly sit for a portrait if the Diocese would like me to. 

However the Diocese is the whole people of God not simply the bishop.  It’s impossible to take a photograph of the whole Diocese.  We are never all together in the same place.  But yesterday we tried to do the next best thing.

At the end of the service, all the congregation and clergy gathered in the nave.  To the sound of loud organ music, the Cathedral vergers brought in the large scissors lift.  The photographer ascended and attempted to take a picture of everyone who was there. 

I’m hoping that this photograph can be framed and hang in the Cathedral corridor to mark the time of the seventh Bishop of Sheffield.  We hope to have a similar large print in our new house.  Originally, I thought I might be rather like a picture from “Where’s Wally?” and people would have to hunt carefully through the crowd for the bishop.  As it happened, I’m standing at the front so it won’t be hard to see me.  So I’m hoping that the photograph will be like a team photograph: a partial snapshot of a massive group of people working hard across the Diocese for the coming of God’s kingdom.

My final sermon was on Psalm 96: “O sing to the Lord a new song!”.

We are in Sheffield for a few more weeks, sorting out the house for the move and taking some holiday.  I will begin “normal” work in Oxford in early September and my inauguration and public ministry there begin on Friday September 30th.

Thank you for all your generosity and kindness.  We will think of you often and pray for you with great joy. 

In Christ
+Steven"

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