Thank you and farewell to Bishop's Officer for Ordinands and Initial Training
25 June 2021
After nearly nine years as Bishop's Officer for Ordinands and Initial Training (BOOIT) for the diocese, the Revd Canon David Foster is retiring.
The Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford said:
“David has brought tremendous commitment, wisdom and compassion to his work as BOOIT over these last nine years. His has been a huge and important job in the life of the diocese and he’s worked with real devotion and care for those exploring God’s call to ordination, accompanying them through their training and formation, and supporting them in their early years of ministry. There are very many across the Diocese and beyond who thank God for David’s crucial role in their journey into ministry, and in that he leaves a wonderful legacy for the future. I’ve particularly enjoyed our work together through what has been a time of considerable change and development in the work of discernment and in the challenges and opportunities of mission and ministry. We wish David and Gerry God’s richest blessing in their well-deserved retirement.”
The Revd Keith James, Director of Ministry and Continuing Ministerial Development Officer, said:
“David has brought huge commitment, sensitivity, and warmth to the role of BOOIT – his care and concern for ordinands shines throughout his ministry. Personally, I shall miss his northern common sense and humour!”
Sue Bunting, Director of Finance said:
“David will be leaving us after almost nine years as the Bishop’s Officer for Ordinands and Initial Training. He has brought a wealth of experience to the Diocese and will be missed. We wish David and Gerry a long and happy retirement”
At the Ordinands’ Retreat on Thursday 24 June, Bishop Graham thanked David and his wife Gerry for their support and commitment to the ministry of the diocese over their time here.
The Revd David said:
“I’ve been BOOIT (Bishop’s Officer for Ordinands and Initial Training) for all but nine years. Particular highlights include vocation retreats with young ordinands on Holy Island; two pilgrimage visits to the Holy Land and Palestinian territories with Bishop Graham James, curates, and others; an exchange visit to my opposite number in our link diocese in the Church of Sweden, way above the arctic circle; ordination retreats at Belsey Bridge and latterly in the Bishop’s House garden, and the ordinations themselves, as daunting as these have been. Through all this, the immense privilege of accompanying so many people as they respond to God’s call – especially for me the call to ordained ministry – and seeing the purpose of God unfolding in and through their lives. Week by week, I have seen the mystery of the mustard seed at close quarters.
I am immensely hopeful that we will face the various challenges before us with a bold and joyful faith I am continually inspired and delighted by the cohorts of ordinands and curates I have worked with, and I will be excited to drop by in a few more years to see what they are up to. I believe that the lockdowns have helped us to lift our focus away from ‘church’ as such and to refocus on the purpose of God and the transforming of our communities in which we serve. Leaving aside the particular challenges of finance and an extraordinary portfolio of medieval buildings, I believe the greatest strategic challenge is to make Christ known and sow the seeds of discipleship across all generations. Adults in mid-life, teenagers, students, retirees, children, toddlers, first-time parents, only-just adults – is there any generation or stage of life where we cannot reach out to God and hear his call?
Finally in terms of hopes for the future, I’ve had the rare treat of a few weeks’ handover with my successor, Revd Dr Michael Fox. He is coming into one of the best and most important jobs in the diocese, and I am absolutely delighted to be handing over to him.”
We wish David all the best for his retirement.
The Revd Dr Michael Fox has been appointed as the new Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Initial Ministerial Education 2 to foster and support vocations in the Diocese of Norwich. You can read more about his appointment here.