Diocese says Goodbye

The congregation in Rochester Cathedral on Saturday 31 October gathered to say goodbye to Bishop Brian as he and his wife Jane prepare to leave the Diocese.  

He said, “I am stepping down from 38 years of ministry and I give thanks for the adventure I have had. It’s been a wonderful time…If you compare ordained ministry to a fairground, then it’s like being on a mixture of rides; at times a roller-coaster, a merry-go-round, a white-knuckle ride and at other times it’s like a walk in the park - and sometimes all these in one day!  I have met many saints in our institutions and congregations who have been a great inspiration.”

Bishop James gave gifts from the diocese to Bishop Brian and Jane, and addressed the congregation saying, “As the service has made clear, we are here not only to say goodbye to Bishop Brian, but to Jane as well. I have huge admiration for couples who work together and Jane’s contribution has been largely behind the scenes, yet significant. The role of the Suffragan Bishop is an odd one, but during Brian’s time he has made particular contributions. For example, licensing and visiting parishes which connects the local with the universal and I know these visits have been warmly received. He has also made some specific contributions which I want to acknowledge: Brian has worked hard bringing skill and commitment to vocations and curate training. He has also played a significant role in maintaining and supporting our Diocesan links, and I know, for example, that Bishop Chad really appreciates that. Brian has challenged us all in relation to poverty in a world of great contrasts. Brian and Jane are now moving into retirement and we wish them well with all that this brings.”

As the service drew to a close, Brian thanked the congregation saying, “This is not an Oscar speech, but thank you for taking us into your hearts. Your generosity has always been very moving. Thank you for your fellowship and colleagueship. God bless you all; I shall be thinking of you.”

Following the service, Bishop Brian wrote this letter of appreciation which he has asked to share with you all:


Dear Friends,

I am writing to thank you for your kindness and generosity shown to Jane and me as we leave the diocese for retirement.  We have had many cards, good wishes and gifts for which we are grateful.

My thirteen years as Bishop of Tonbridge have been a wonderful experience where I have learnt so much from you all about commitment to Jesus Christ and God at work in the world.  I have felt greatly supported both in times of celebration and at times of difficult decisions.  Please be assured of my continuing prayers as you all move into the future to which God is calling you.

Jane joins me in sending our love and best wishes, +Brian.

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