Fond farewell to retiring Archdeacon of Bromley and Bexley

First published on: 21st February 2022

Bishop Simon with Jill Wright and Archdeacon Paul Wright

A joyous service has taken place at Rochester Cathedral, on Sunday 20 February, to give thanks for the ministry of the Archdeacon of Bromley and Bexley, the Venerable Paul Wright, who is retiring after 18 years in the role.

Joined by family and friends, as well as colleagues and well-wishers from across the Diocese and beyond, the service of Evensong was a celebration of Paul and his wife Jill's ministry and service over the last 40 years.

Led by Bishop Simon, with superb choral accompaniment from the choir of St George's, Beckenham, the service was also live-streamed so that friends and family from around the world could be part of the occasion.

Watch a recording of the service

In reflecting on Paul's ministry and personal contribution to parish and diocesan life, Bishop Simon said:

"In all the time I have known Paul, he has shown a restless, energetic can-do attitude that has inspired trust and confidence in those around him."

He continued:

"I have always been grateful for the directness Paul brings to issues, wanting to ask the question ‘why’ to ensure teams don’t drift from their goals.  Keeping a vision of how the kingdom of God is drawing near and helping people to see it in their own lives and in the surrounding community is the core task we are set." 

Read Bishop Simon's address in full

In a particularly poignant moment, as the choir sang, 'The Lord bless you and keep you' by John Rutter, Archdeacon Paul took off his cope and laid it on the altar.

He and Jill were then presented with gifts and before leading the congregation in a round of applause, Bishop Simon ended his final tribute saying: 

"It's been a blast and it's been of God and after forty years, there is no ovation that will do it justice, but let's try."

Archdeacon Paul then offered his own thanks to those all those who had attended and supported him in ministry over the years, particularly his wife Jill and close family.

Find out more about Paul in our One to One interview with him in the Diocesan magazine

Jill and Paul wave and smile

In a final official act as the Archdeacon of Bromley and Bexley, he gave the blessing, encouraging those gathered to hear the commission that was being set for them within it:

"Go forth into the world in peace,
Be of good courage.
Hold fast to that which is good.
Render no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the faint-hearted. 
Support the weak.
Help the afflicted. Love everyone.
Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the Holy Spirit.
And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit come down upon you and serve you always."

(Book of Common Prayer,  1892, 1928, modified)

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