Associate Minister's October Letter

Bishop Bob Retires

 

Bob Evens has been Bishop of Crediton since 2004 and will retire at the end of October.  There is a farewell service and celebration of his ministry in the Cathedral, 3pm on Saturday October 6th.  Everyone is welcome and I hope many from the White Cross Mission Community will attend. 

 

I am told the name of the new Bishop will be announced very soon and we look forward to a new and exciting phase in the life of the Church of England in the Eastern half of Devon.

 

Bishop Bob was born in Plymouth and later moved to Exeter and Ilfracombe.  He followed his father into banking, working at National Westminster in Barnstaple and later in Bristol and Bath, before training for ordination in 1977. 

 

I first went to see him in November 2010 – I got to his house and was told he had had to dash out to visit a clergyman who was going through a family crisis. A sign of his deeply pastoral heart.  My trip was not wasted as I could fill in my CRB form and arrange another appointment.

 

When I did see him a couple of weeks later I was impressed with the way he took time to understand my situation and suggested I pray about working with the White Cross Mission Community – a possibility I hadn’t even dreamed would be available.  Nearly four months later the interview took place – I was sent out of the room while the panel deliberated.  After what seemed like an interminable wait I was summonsed back in and he, with a twinkle in his eye, announced – ‘Well we have decided not to appoint you’ – pause – ‘well of course I was joking – we have!’ The pause was long enough for me to think: Is he having me on or not? – a horribly disquieting moment.

 

Ever since then he has been encouraging and praying for Karen and I as we have begun working together.  This year on my birthday Bishop rang and left a message on our answerphone – a prayer of blessing for our ministry and family.  Deeply moving!  He is such a warm and approachable person and yet when he needs to he can be clear and decisive.

 

Many of you will know what a gifted speaker he is.  Bishop Bob has an ability to communicate with people who are not regular church goers with an honesty, clarity and humour that is refreshing and inspiring.

 

In days when Church of England bishops get a lot of criticism and often seem out of touch we have so much to be thankful to God for in Bishop Bob’s ministry for the last 8 years.  Let us pray for him and for his family as they adjust to a new phase of their lives. 

 

Christopher Cant


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