East Anglia Bishop is given only weeks to live
By Keith Morris
-based Roman Catholic Bishop of East Anglia
has told congregations across the region that doctors have given him only weeks to live.
Rt Rev Michael Evans was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer just over five years ago and he has continued his ministry as best he can since then, coping with the developing illness, its ongoing treatment and a general decline in health.
On Sunday a letter from Bishop Michael was read out to congregations across the Diocese, in which he addressed his illness, his wish to continue in his role as long as possible, his hopes and prayers for the future and his thanks to his doctors.
Bishop Michael wrote: "In the last few weeks, the cancer has rather quickly taken control. My oncology and palliative care consultants informed me openly and honestly just before Christmas that I now probably have only weeks to live, and I am as prepared for that as I can be, accepting it with faith as a gift of God’s grace.
“I have received wonderful care from Dr Adrian Harnett and everyone at the Colney Centre at the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital, and the local surgery, and I would like to thank them for their dedication which continues. My thanks also to so many people in our team at the White House (in Poringland) and across our diocese.
“We have moved forward and outward together as a diocese, although not all of you may be have been happy with the directions we have taken. I am sorry for any ways I have failed in my ministry during those years. There remain a number of difficulties on my desk which will need to be handled by others.
“Rather than resign, I would like to continue among you as your bishop and the father of our diocesan family until this stage of my life ends. I do not know how long that will be. I am most grateful for the ways you have cared for and so prayerfully supported me in recent years. You remain very much in my thoughts and care. As I am sure you understand, I am able to do very little, and will need to rely on others. Please can I ask you to limit any expressions of care to prayer for now, rather than anything else to which I cannot respond.
“As I live now under the shadow of death, my prayer is very much that of St Paul that I may know something of the power of Christ’s resurrection and a share in his sufferings, trusting that the Lord is with me. I pray that even now I can joyfully witness something of the good news we are all called to proclaim," wrote Bishop Michael.
Bishop Michael was appointed as the third Bishop of East Anglia by Pope John Paul II on February 14, 2003 and was ordained at the Cathedral Church of St John the Baptist in Norwich on March 19. The Diocese covers Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
Born in South London in August 1951, Bishop Michael was ordained a priest in Southwark in 1975, he studied for a Master of Theology degree at the University of London and was a lecturer in Christian Doctrine for eight years. He went on to become a university chaplain and a parish priest in Tunbridge Wells as well as being appointed a Canon Theologian in Southwark in 1996.
Ecumenical dialogue has always been important to him and Bishop Michael has been a member of the British Methodist/Roman Catholic committee for 20 years and a member of the International Joint Council for Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church since 1997.
Bishop Michael is also chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Committee for Christian Unity and is one of four Christian co-presidents of the new Christian-Muslim Forum established by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
To read the full letter from Bishop Michael, click here
Please feel free to add your thoughts and prayers for Bishop Michael below.