Almost a thousand people gathered in York Minster on St Andrew’s Day for the consecration of Fr Stephen Race as the new Bishop of Beverley – an encouraging number for any new bishop, and especially those parishes which belong to the See of Beverley. The opening hymn was ‘Hills of the North, Rejoice’ and truly they seemed to. The Bishop of Chichester preached a memorable, moving and erudite sermon on the itinerant nature of episcopal ministry to which +Stephen has been called, quoting approvingly from the priest-poet Gerald Manley Hopkins who also served in the north during his lifetime.
The Society’s trio of consecrating bishops were all from the northern province: Bishop Robinson of Wakefield, assisted by Bishop North of Burnley, and Bishop Webster, previously of Beverley. Many northern Society parishes had made a big effort to be in York, so much so that one local restaurant in the old assembly rooms resembled a Beverley lay congress at lunchtime!
Archbishop Stephen Cottrell and Dean Dominic Barrington could not have been warmer in their welcome and were explicit in their commitment to mutual flourishing. Brother Society bishops were in attendance, as were the main diocesans of the Province along with the female bishops of Lancaster, Doncaster and Ripon who all came to offer their support.
Our prayers for +Stephen as he begins this new ministry.