Blessing of the oils and farewell service for the Bishop of Thetford
3 April 2023
On Monday 3 April, after nearly 14 years, the Bishop of Thetford, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Winton bade farewell to the people of Norfolk and Waveney at a special service in Norwich Cathedral.
The service, which is called the Chrism Eucharist, happens every year in Holy Week. The special service is an opportunity for clergy to come together and renew their commitment to ministry. The Bishop of Norwich also blesses three oils; Oil for the Sick, the Oil of Baptism, and the Oil of Chrism, for clergy to use in their ministry throughout the year.
The Oil for the Sick is the first oil to be blessed by the bishop for the Church’s ministry of wholeness and healing. This is used in the Church’s ministry to the sick and dying.
The Oil of Baptism is used in the preparation of those to be baptised. It is a sign of the grace of God leading them and strengthening them in His service.
The third oil, the Oil of Chrism, has perfume and balsam added to give it a sweet smell. This oil is used by the Bishop at confirmation and ordination as a sign of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Those who are baptised and confirmed are marked with the sign of the cross, symbolising their place in the royal and prophetic priesthood of Christ.
At the end of the service Bishop Alan and his wife, Pippa were presented with flowers and a gift.
Speaking of his retirement Bishop Alan said;
“I am very aware of how blest I’ve been to serve as one of the bishops in such a lovely part of the country. Visiting the churches across Norfolk and Waveney week by week, worshipping in such beautiful buildings, meeting such caring and committed people has been a joy. I’m also grateful for the chance I’ve enjoyed to play a small part in encouraging the fabulous and crucial work that goes on in our schools.
“It has been deeply moving to witness the commitment and generosity of so many people whose faith leads them to serve their communities, particularly where poverty, homelessness and other marks of our tragically unequal society are present.
“I’ve often said that the task of ministry can be summarised as learning to love the people God has given you to serve. I feel very thankful that God placed me in a diocese where that has been such a happy task.
“As Pippa and I move away we will do so with much to give thanks for to God. The people of Norfolk and Waveney will remain in our hearts and our prayers, with thanksgiving for all we’ve shared.”
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher said;
“Alan Winton’s ministry as Bishop of Thetford has been marked by grace and pastoral care. He has made a significant contribution to many areas of Diocesan life, including the selection and training of clergy, our church schools, and parishes in his care.
“Like many others, I am grateful for his friendship and the way in which he welcomed me to the Diocese. His wife, Pippa, has been a gentle and prayerful presence amongst us with an ability to come along side people, especially partners of the clergy.
“Bishop Alan and Pippa leave with our love and our thankfulness to God for all that they have given to our life together in Norfolk and Waveney.”