The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, has led tributes to the Rt Revd Michael Perham, following his retirement as the Bishop of Gloucester.
He was speaking at a meeting of the General Synod, the parliament of the Church of England, where he praised Bishop Michael for his ministry over the last four decades.
The Archbishop said: “Michael has particularly had to undergo, with Alison and the family, a very difficult time over the last 11 months, and I am especially glad that we are in a position today to be full of praise and thanksgiving for his ministry, without hesitation. I think that is really important.
“Michael is one of those people whose manifest ability has been remarked on throughout his life. In all of his appointments, Michael brought his distinctive ability of organisation, and prayerful, thoughtful innovation, but also humour and charm.”
Liturgy held a particular interest for Bishop Michael, and the Archbishop said he was regarded as an expert in this field. He added: “He had enormous influence and his sheer hard work made him a major player in the completion of the Common Worship Project. If some future scholar is to research the influence of people on Common Worship, some of the essential elements would turn out to have their authorship with Michael.”
The Archbishop urged Bishop Michael to continue to bring his wealth of knowledge to the ongoing life of the church in his retirement.
He said: “Throughout his time as Bishop, Michael continued to write books on areas of theology, liturgy and spirituality. He is one of those people who actually finds the work of writing to be therapeutic and relaxing. We can only hope and pray that, in retirement, that he does not become so relaxed that he feels the need to stop relaxing by writing. We need his thoughts and work to continue to be of influence on the Church.
“We offer him our gratitude for his remarkable contribution, not only to the General Synod and the Diocese of Gloucester, but to the Church of England as a whole. And we pray that his retirement is fulfilling and a blessing to him and Alison.”
You can hear the Archbishop's full tribute to Bishop Michael here: