The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Suffolk bishop is consecrated at Westminster 

A former management consultant became the Bishop of Dunwich during a moving ceremony at Westminster Abbey today in front of supporters from Suffolk and across the country who had travelled to London for the occasion.

The Revd Dr Canon Mike Harrison, 52, was consecrated as Bishop of Dunwich in the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese at Westminster Abbey on February 24 by the Archbishop of Canterbury The Most Revd Justin Welby, in front of a large number of fellow bishops and more than 1,000 people.

DunwichBishopJustinWelby540Bishop Mike, whose new role will include helping the Church grow in Suffolk, said: ‘‘When I was young our family tradition at Christmas was to write (a short!) Christmas present list and at the top of mine was always “surprises”.

“Coming into this diocese takes me back to that because it feels as if I know very little indeed about St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and surprises will certainly be in store. 

“However, I am greatly encouraged from what I have been told that this is a diocese of great warmth, welcome and hospitality.’’

The new Bishop of Dunwich said one of his priorities was quite simply to get to know the diocese, which includes almost all of Suffolk. He plans to initially focus on listening to the joys and challenges facing Christian communities, priests and people and the Church within the county as a whole.

The Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, described the ceremony as a tremendous occasion for everyone in Suffolk.

He said: ‘‘I know what the impact of his consecration as a bishop will have on him. It will give him the strength to embrace the joys and challenges of his new role he is coming to in our county.

“Mike is warm and outgoing with a deep spirituality as well as a creative intelligence. He is a fine teacher, preacher and pastor and I look forward to welcoming him and his family to Suffolk.

“What Mike brings to our county in particular is experience of the growth and renewal of the rural Church in Leicestershire, the second fastest growing diocese in the country. 

“Mike has experience with young people’s programmes, youth projects and church schools and will aim to strengthen that work in our county too.’’

The Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich traditionally has two Bishops, currently the Rt Revd Martin Seeley, and his assistant, the Bishop of Dunwich.

Bishop Mike said: ‘‘Coming into a leadership role in any organisation or institution there can be a huge pressure to swiftly identify the ‘problems’ and ‘fix’ things. Sometimes this is absolutely right and the situation demands it, but sometimes this can be an anxious reaction to being overwhelmed by worry and that can lead to short-term fixing which in the long-term doesn’t fix anything.

“So I hope I will take Jesus’ words seriously to “be ye not anxious”, and face the many challenges and issues that face every diocese with an attentiveness and an unshakeable confidence and calmness in our Lord’s presence and provision,’’ he said.

He will welcomed to the county formally as he is installed as Bishop of Dunwich during a second service at the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday February 27.

He succeeds the late Rt Revd Clive Young, who retired during 2013 as Bishop of Dunwich and tragically died soon after. 

Pictured above, the Archbishop of Canterbury with Bishop Mike and, top, the service at Westminster Abbey. 

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