David Hope praises a great and famous man
It was Alcuin of York who in the eighth century gave some timely advice to the then Archbishop of Canterbury when he wrote (equally applicable to any bishop) ‘be thine an open hand and a merry heart… let none come to thee and go sad away… sow living seeds, words that are quick with life’.
All this and more has been typical of Bishop Glyn’s exercise of the episcopal office over these last eight years. The sheer extent of the area covered by the Episcopal Visitor in the north of England is enormous. But this has never deterred Bishop Glyn from travelling one day to Liverpool or Manchester, then the next day to the north-east, followed by a special occasion in Sheffield.
Further, in addition to the regular round of the sacramental ministry – the celebration of Mass, the rite of baptism and confirmation, the special occasion Masses such as the annual Chrism Masses – there have as well been other celebrations and festivities further afield which he has always been ready to attend; and all this combined with an ever open door ready to receive both priest and people alike for support, counsel and advice – always a ready listening ear.
His hospitality is legendary whether providing a meal at home or entertaining away during his pastoral visits. I am sure the stallholders in York market are well aware of Bishop Glyn’s favourite recipes!
One of the key charges to the bishop at his ordination is that he ‘is to know his people and be known by them.’ Again, this has been more than fulfilled by Bishop Glyn as he has travelled mile upon mile in successive weeks to make sure those parishes in his care are encouraged, supported, nourished and built up in the faith of the Church.
There has never been any question either about his steady and sturdy defence of the catholic faith and tradition and has never flinched from fighting his corner when the need has arisen – although always with that courtesy and patience which cannot always be said to have typified those who from time to time have challenged the exercise of his ministry.
Above all, we rejoice that Bishop Glyn has been with us and alongside us as a fellow worker in the Lord. He has always said of himself that he doesn’t ‘do posh.’ Well, whether posh or not, his basic faithfulness and cheerful discipleship has always shone through his tireless and indefatigable ministry – often at considerable cost to himself – as he has sought to accomplish all that with which he was charged at his ordination as Bishop in the Church of God on 25 January 2013. Thanks be to God.
++David Hope, Baron Hope of Thornes, was the Archbishop of York from 1995 to 2005