It was a fantastic morning today at Winchester Cathedral – for the consecration of the new Bishop of Basingstoke – Revd Canon David Williams. This was a bit of a first as bishops are usually consecrated on a job lot basis at St Paul’s Cathedral, but this ceremony was just for David in the city where he has had such a great influence over the last 12 years as vicar of Christ Church.
Winchester cathedral just does things so beautifully! From the great booming organ to the virgers who lead the various processions of clergy choir and bishops from one side of the nave to the other (in case they get lost which would never do), to the sensational choirs including both boys and girls (and one of our parishioners) and during Communion a worship band – the whole ceremony was just amazing
The processions included some people with some curious titles – ‘Ostarius’ and ‘The Proclocutor of the Lower House’ for example – which sound about as weird as ‘The Akond of Swat’, whose title gave rise to the delightful rhyme ‘Who or why or which or what is the Akond of Swat?’
The Archbishop of Canterbury led the service with a dozen other bishops which included rubbing what looked like almost a bottle of oil on David’s head. Another striking moment was the gospel reading (John 10:11-16 – the good shepherd) which is usually a rather solemn affair. But Revd Neil Lambert managed to make it more of a drama – pacing from side to side and managing to engage the whole congregation in this key piece of scripture.
The preacher to the packed cathedral was the Principal of Trinity Theological College in Bristol Dr Emma Ineson who used to be David’s curate – an opportunity to tell a few stories one might have thought, but one which she used to encourage David to ‘smell like his sheep’ – by getting out and about amongst them.
Well almost the first sheep that he will be smelling like are his parishioners of Itchen Valley as he is coming to speak at the first Alpha evening on Tuesday 30th September.
If you would like to come – please do let me know….
Revd Alex Pease