Tom Middleton reports on the farewell events for Glyn Webster
In one of the largest gatherings many of us have attended since the start of the pandemic, York Minster hosted a fond farewell to Bishop Glyn Webster on Saturday 8 January. Bishop Glyn celebrated and preached at a Choral Eucharist, which was well attended both by York residents – so familiar with Bishop Glyn after his 45 years in the city, including his many years’ service in the Minster – and those from further afield marking his nine years as Bishop of Beverley. The final blessing was given by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell.
The congregation was delighted that one of Archbishop Stephen’s illustrious predecessors and a great friend to the Catholic movement in the Church of England, Bishop David (Lord) Hope, was able to be present and in the sanctuary party.
The Eucharist represented the second of two farewell Eucharists for Bishop Glyn; the other being an equally joyful occasion at Manchester Cathedral on the preceding bank holiday, Monday 3 January. Both Eucharists witnessed a good turnout of bishops from the northern province, displaying the high regard in which Bishop Glyn is held and a testimony to his selfless work for the Church over many years in that province and in a variety of roles.
At York Minster, and in his final service as Bishop of Beverley, Bishop Glyn chose the readings set for the Eucharist at which deacons are ordained to remind us of the importance of continuing to serve as a deacon, even for those who have gone on to become priests and – as was the case for him – bishops. He explained that this represents an intrinsic part of our respect for the continuity of holy orders and is most visibly represented by bishops wearing the deacon’s dalmatic under a chasuble when celebrating the Eucharist.
Bishop Glyn went on to draw our attention to a verse from each of three scriptural readings that had just been read at the Eucharist. Firstly, the personal nature of our calling as set out in the Old Testament reading (1 Samuel 3.10): “The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Secondly, the encouragement in hard times which we obtain from the New Testament reading (2 Corinthians 4.1): “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” Thirdly, and finally, the priority of all Christians to live out a life of service as set out in the Gospel (St Mark 10.45): “For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
There can be absolutely no doubt as to Bishop Glyn’s many years of faithful service of the Church and its people. Thank you!