The process of appointing the new Bishop of Winchester is under way and a range of people and committees have formal roles to play in this process. But every one of us in the diocese has an active part to play in seeking God’s wisdom and care for those responsible for this appointment and those whom God is calling to be considered for this vital role of service.
There will be a Diocesan wide DAY OF PRAYER for the new Bishop of Winchester on All Saints’ Day, Tuesday 1st November 2022. The day will start with a special service of Morning Prayer live-streamed from Winchester Cathedral at 8am. Please get involved by organising prayer in your parishes.
Here is a special video we have created, involving many members of the diocese, to help us in our prayers:
Specific prayer points:
This simple resource offers some ways we can all pray for the process and the new Bishop, for use individually and within your parishes.
- For God’s provision and care for all those responsible for calling the new Bishop. For the committee as they draw up the Statement of Needs document in particular that it would be an important instrument in the process of reconciliation, recognising a respecting our differences with an honest & fair reflection on the past, a realistic view on the present and a sense of energy, excitement and shared purpose for the future.
- Please pray that the final Statement of Needs will achieve the aim of celebrating all that is good and healthy within the Diocese for which we rightly thank God and speaking openly about areas which with the leadership of new Diocesan bishop we can focus on in the future.
- For the person God is preparing to respond to the call to be the new Bishop of Winchester
- For the life of our diocese and for all the communities we seek to serve, that our love for God and each other would be deepened as we wait in faith.
Some Bible passages for reflection:
‘Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.’ (Matthew 20:26)
‘The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.’ (1 Timothy 3.1)
‘When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ (John 21:15-17)
‘For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.’ (2 Timothy 1:11)
‘Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.’ (1 Peter 2.4)
Ideas for prayers
God of provision and care, discernment and knowledge, Lead us in your love, empower us by your Spirit, and equip us with your gifts; Give us hearts full of love for all people, minds open to the signs of the times, and wisdom to know how to respond to the voice of your calling. We ask this through him who’s coming is certain, whose day draws near, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer from Canon Charles Stewart, Chair of the Vacancy-in-See Committee
God of our past, our present and our future,
whose Son Jesus Christ brought in your Kingdom
and called us to follow:
hear us as we pray for the person you are calling
to be the next Bishop of Winchester;
by the Holy Spirit give discernment
to all involved in this process;
and give us grace and the will
to live, pray and serve as your co-workers in building the Kingdom here.
We ask this through our King, brother and friend,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer written by Year 6 pupils from St Bede Church of England Primary School, Winchester:
Wise and loving God,
We pray that you will give wisdom to those searching for the new Bishop of Winchester.
Help us to create a community of love and peace as we seek a new Bishop to lead us.
We ask for a leader who will show humility, empathy and love to all your people.
We ask for a person who will build your Kingdom here on earth, in this city and across the world.
Let us seek a person who is peaceful and patient.
Someone who cares not only for the people of Winchester but anybody who comes to seek help.
Someone who is honest and approachable, someone who will help us to follow you.
Someone who can bring out the best in us, someone who isn’t afraid to ask for help.
Someone who can understand.
Continue to guide and strengthen us is our daily lives.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
(By Ivy, Leo and Zoe, year 6)
Poem for reflection
– Adapted from ‘On thy wonderous works I will meditate’ by Mary Oliver
I know a [person] of such
mildness and kindness it is trying to
change my life. [He/she] does not
preach, teach, but simply is. It is
astonishing, for [he/she] is Christ’s ambassador
truly, by rule and act. But, more,
[he/she] is kind with the sort of kindness that shines
out, but is resolute, not fooled. [He/she] has
eaten the dark hours and could also, I think,
soldier for God, riding out
under the storm clouds, against the world’s pride and unkindness,
with both unassailable sweetness, and tempering word.