Representatives of communities and churches from across Suffolk came together today (June 20) to officially welcome the 11th Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich into his new role.
The Right Reverend Martin Seeley was enthroned at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, in Bury St Edmunds, this afternoon (June 20) in a special ceremony which marked the beginning of a new chapter in the Diocese’s life.
As is tradition, using his ceremonial staff, Bishop Martin rapped on the cathedral doors three times before they opened to the sounds of fanfare, allowing him to step inside.
He was first received by a group of recently confirmed young people and sprinkled with water as a sign of his baptism, before making his way to the front of the cathedral to be seated in the episcopal chair.
In his first sermon to the 900-strong congregation - made up of leaders from other faiths, civic dignitaries and overseas visitors - Bishop Martin stressed the importance of friendship, honesty and trust.
Speaking after his enthronement, Bishop Martin said he had been ‘thrilled’ to see such a large number of guests and was looking forward to meeting as many people as possible in the months ahead, and talking about what differences they would like to see made in Suffolk.
He added: “In a sense, I have been doing this job for the last month, as well as preparing for it for the previous six months, and this feels like all of that coming together.
“Now that I’ve properly embarked on the responsibilities that I’ve been given - and I think it’s not a responsibilty I hold in isolation, but in partnership with a whole host of other community and education leaders - I look forward to it.”
Dr Frances Ward, The Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, said Bishop Martin ‘comes with an evident love of the county and real concern for education, to see the churches of Suffolk flourish in service of everyone from every community’.
She said: “A new era begins, with a great sense of celebration and occasion.”
Bishop Martin’s new role comes after the Rt Rev Nigel Stock, former Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, was appointed Bishop at Lambeth, assisting the Archbishop of Canterbury, and after the Rt Rev Dr David Thomson’s 18 months as Acting Bishop, where he cared for the Diocese until a permanent successor was appointed.