Bishop of Tonbridge Consecrated

New Bishop of Tonbridge consecrated at St. Paul's Cathedral

The new Bishop of Tonbridge was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, at a service in St Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday 3 July.

View the order of service here

Formerly the Archdeacon of Rochester, the Venerable Simon Burton-Jones officially became the Right Reverend at the joyful service of Eucharist at which two further bishops were also consecrated; the Bishop of Bristol and the Bishop of Bradwell.

See official pictures from the day here

Large numbers of people from across the Diocese of Rochester, which covers Medway, north west Kent and the London boroughs of Bromley and Bexley, travelled to London to support Simon and his family on this special occasion.

One of those who attended said: “It’s been a lovely occasion and Bishop Simon is a fantastic choice for the Diocese. He’s a fantastic carer of people and I’m looking forward to that continuing in his Bishop’s ministry.”

Symbolic items 

During the ceremony, Simon received three items to symbolise his office as bishop: an episcopal ring, a pastoral staff and a pectoral cross..

All were made by local craftsman Andrew Lapthorn, who is based at Historic Dockyard Chatham. Two of the items were crafted from 4,500-year-old ‘bog wood’ and Simon was personally involved in their design, incorporating within them symbols of significance to him.

These included: the Syrian Orthodox cross to set his ministry in the context of the wider world; an anchor representing our anchoring in Christ but also of his upbringing in Fleetwood by the sea; and, two spires, which references a particularly spiritual scene from West Wing – of which Simon is a huge fan - called ‘Two Cathedrals’.

In one of three short films about the items, Simon explains that West Wing reference saying that the spires demonstrate to him that ‘God speaks to us through many different sources and we can relate the gospel to culture in the most exciting and invigorating ways’.  Watch the films here

A focus on evangelism and growth

As Bishop of Tonbridge, Simon will particularly focus on evangelism and growth. He will also have oversight and leadership of education, youth and children, as well as community engagement work among churches across the Diocese of Rochester.

A video message from Simon following the announcement of his appointment as Bishop of Tonbridge can be seen here. A full biography about Simon can be read here.

The Bishop of Rochester Rt Rev James Langstaff said on the occasion of Simon’s appointment: “I am delighted that Simon Burton-Jones has been appointed as the next Bishop of Tonbridge. He is a thoughtful theologian and gifted communicator. As Archdeacon of Rochester he has supported the mission of the Church in some of Kent and Medway’s most deprived communities, and steered the development of valuable new work in Chatham and Ebbsfleet.”

Following his consecration in St. Paul’s Cathedral, Simon will be installed into his ‘seat’ at Rochester Cathedral in September.

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