Bishop Graham and Bishop Alan add their thanks for Susanna’s ministry in our Diocese.
It scarcely seems possible but it’s now over 16 years since I was first entrusted with a role in this Diocese. I was Lay Development Co-ordinator in those far-off days and based at Emmaus House in the Cathedral Close. But as the number of courses and events on offer grew and grew, I was mostly out and about across the Diocese – at the back of this church or in that village hall, leading all manner of groups. Everywhere I went, I found people ready to grow and learn – open, loving people who supported and encouraged me while I was trying to support and encourage them. The net of such relationships widened during the time I was Bishop’s Chaplain and then again during the extraordinary Covid years in my current diocesan role. So now, as I prepare to step down from that role, I really want to acknowledge how much your warmth and friendship has meant to me over the years and to thank you for it.
I’m not going anywhere and hope to continue writing and offering retreats and Quiet Days from time to time. I also expect to remain busy on most Sundays but will welcome a bit more space and flexibility in the diary. And I am keen to see what else may lie ahead…
So a big thank you to so many for the privilege of playing a part in your own journeys of faith over the last 16 years and for the ways in which you have enriched my own. A big thank you also to the bishops whom I have served during that time: I am more grateful than I can say for the trust invested in me and for the freedom I’ve been given to be endlessly creative.
Bishop Graham writes:
Susanna has brought much to the role of Diocesan Adviser in Spirituality and Discipleship which has enriched our life together in the Diocese. I know from correspondence that her prayers, hymns and Advent and Lent resources have been used not only in Norfolk and Waveney but throughout the world. I will always be indebted to her for the reflections she prepared when we went into the first covid pandemic lockdown which I found both sustaining and reassuring at a challenging time. She goes into this next phase of ministry with our love and thankfulness.
Bishop Alan writes:
Susanna Gunner’s ministry in this diocese, in its various forms, has been a blessing to many people, and has reached far beyond the borders of Norfolk and Waveney. Some will remember her first role as Lay Development Co-ordinator, offering training courses and organising an impressive range of events in the Cathedral and across the diocese, many shared by clergy and laity learning together. Her innovative Gospel Maps have been an enduring gift and have been used far and wide.
As Chaplain to Bishop Graham James she was a valued member of the bishop’s staff and I know she was also a great support to him as his long ministry in the Diocese came to a close.
Her most recent role has been as Spirituality and Discipleship Adviser enriching our preparations for Christmas and Easter with her imaginative, online Advent Calendars and daily offerings through the forty days of Lent, and well as other resources, always bringing fresh insights and illumination. Her ability to seek out and tell the stories of the faith and discipleship of lay Christians in town and countryside has brought tremendous encouragement.
Susanna’s gifts as a preacher have been appreciated in the Cathedral and many churches around the Diocese, and in recent years she received the distinction of being made a Queen’s (and now a King’s) Chaplain.
We wish Susanna God’s blessing as she enters this new phase of her life and ministry, thankful for all she has shared with us, grateful that she will not be lost to the diocese, and wondering what new ways she will find for stimulating and enlarging the faith of God’s people.