+ Robert's farewell


undefinedChristians from across our diocese and beyond said farewell to Bishop Robert Atwell at a service held at St George's church, Stockport. The departing Bishop of Stockport who is to become the Bishop of Exeter in the summer preached at the service. He urged Christians to make a difference to the lives of the communities in which they live.

‘Christian altruism challenged the ancient Roman world, and it was this that converted Europe, not philosophical argument,” said Bishop Robert. Citing current projects in both the dioceses of Exeter and Chester he drew attention to local Christians working to support their neighbours with dignity and love.

He also told how he chose how to announce his new ministry in Devon at a local parish church that runs a debt crisis centre (rather than at the Exeter Cathedral) in order to stand in solidarity with those of limited resources.

And he pointed out the encouraging fact that churches across the Diocese of Chester gave £1.2 million to charity last year.  

Bishop Robert will be installed in Exeter Cathedral in July and will live in Exeter. He succeeds Bishop Michael Langrish, who retired last year.

Robert Atwell spent ten years as a Benedictine monk at Burford Priory in Oxfordshire, and then served as a parish priest in London before becoming Bishop of Stockport in 2008.

Some 400 people from across the diocese attended the service on Saturday 12 April. Other guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Manchester, Warren Smith; and Stockport Council’s chief executive, Eamonn Boylan.

Bishop Robert led the Eucharist. The readings were from Ezekiel 37.21-28 and John 11.45-57

The hymns were ‘The Royal Banners Forward Go’; ‘From Heaven You Came, Helpless Babe’, ‘My Song Is Love’ and ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’. St George’s choir were joined by St Saviour’s choir for the service.

Just before the dismissal, Bishop Peter made a presentation to Bishop Robert and spoke warmly of his contribution to the diocese, describing him as a “collaborative minister”.

The Vicar of St George’s , the Revd Elaine Chegwin Hall said: “Even though this was a very poignant occasion there was a real sense of happiness and celebration about all that Bishop Robert contributed to our diocese.”

PIctured above - Bishop Robert at his farewell service, flanked by BIshops Peter and Keith with Archdeacon Michael behind them