[ACNS] A companion link between the US-based Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Virginia and the Church of England’s Diocese of Liverpool took a step further this week when the Suffragan Bishop of Virginia was commissioned to serve also as the Assisting Bishop of Liverpool.
The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, was at the Shrine Mont Retreat Centre in Orkney Springs, Virginia, for the history-making event this week. With the blessing of the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, Bishop Bayes presented letters commissary to the Bishop of Virginia, the Rt Revd Shannon S. Johnston, confirming Bishop Susan Goff’s new appointment.
Bishops Bayes and Johnston prayed over Bishop Goff “while the room spontaneously rose to its feet with applause, love and affection,” a spokesman for the Diocese of Liverpool said.
Bishop Goff will continue to reside and minister in Virginia but will make trips to Liverpool for her new role. Her first responsibilities in Liverpool will include sharing with Bishop Bayes in the ordination of priests in June and speaking at the diocesan clergy conference in July.
“The link with the Diocese of Virginia has been important to us in Liverpool for many years,” Bishop Bayes said. “At my installation eighteen months ago it was a privilege to welcome Bishop Shannon Johnston as a guest of honour. Now, with Bishop Susan Goff’s appointment as one of our assisting bishops, we are able to strengthen our bond still further.
“Bishop Susan is no stranger to Liverpool and we look forward to being enriched by her wisdom as a teacher and pastor of pastors whenever she visits us.”
“What I most look forward to and am most excited about in this new relationship is the ways we will teach and learn from each other,” Bishop Goff said. “We share many common experiences across our two dioceses but we also have unique experiences in terms of what it means to be the church now in the beginning of the 21st century.
“And I look forward to what I will learn from Bishop Paul and from the diocese of Liverpool and to the things that I’ll be able to share from our experiences here in Virginia. I anticipate through that both dioceses will grow in our strength and faithfulness.”
The companion link between the dioceses of Liverpool and Virginia are focused “on Jesus and Justice, that together, a bigger church might make a bigger difference in the world,” the Diocese of Liverpool said.
In addition to using technology to connect the dioceses and support their ministries, Bishop Goff’s appointment “deepens our long-standing missional relationship which includes parish to parish links, youth pilgrimages, sabbaticals, joint mission trips, and even a connection between two preschools.”