Matthew Parker was consecrated as the 12th Bishop of Stafford at Lambeth Palace.
Bishop Matthew admitted his journey to episcopal ordination had been "a long and winding road" after his initial consecration date in January was postponed due to the pandemic. Wednesday's ceremony was limited to a handful of guests - including the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave and chief consecrating bishop Anthony Poggo (pictured above).
"It has felt to be something of a long and winding road towards episcopal ordination but I got there in the end and I am grateful for the prayers, support and best wishes that Sarah and I have received since the announcement back in September," said Bishop Matthew.
"On the day of the consecration, whilst necessarily reduced in scale and numbers, I nonetheless had six close family members with me in the chapel at Lambeth Palace and the service was powerful and meaningful.
"It was a particular joy and privilege that Bishop Anthony Poggo was the chief consecrating bishop. Bishop Anthony is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor on Anglican Communion Affairs, having been Bishop of Kajo-Keji in South Sudan. I felt very strongly my connection with sisters and brothers across the world, many of whom minister in deeply challenging situations."
Bishop Matthew (pictured with his family above) continued: "Whilst it was wonderful to bear the resonant but hard-to-explain title of Episcopal Vicar for the Stafford Episcopal Area for two months, it is a relief now to actually be the Bishop of Stafford! I am excited about where the Spirit is leading the church in these uncertain times. I am daunted by the task ahead, but I am encouraged by the fellowship of God’s people and the eternal faithfulness of God.
"At my consecration, the Archbishop of Canterbury preached on Colossians 1.15-29 in which Paul sets out a charge - not just for a bishop but every Christian person. We are made “servants of the gospel” and it is Christ “we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ”. Please pray for me, that I will be true to this calling and that we will all be faithful in proclaiming Christ, “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation”. To him be the glory."
Pictured below (from left): Bishop of Croydon Jonathan Clarke, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Bishop Matthew, Bishop Anthony Poggo, Bishop Michael and Bishop of London Sarah Mullaly.