This month, Bishop Martyn and our Swedish Link Officer, the Revd Rosie Woodall attended the farewell service for Bishop Thomas and the consecration of the new Bishop of Västerås, Bishop Mikael.
Rosie writes: “At noon was the farewell service for Bishop Thomas at Västerås Cathedral, which was well-attended by clergy and laity. We were seated in the second row behind his family. Some of those present were in Swedish traditional dress, and many clergy in their frock-coats. It was a very simple service, all in Swedish, including a lot of music, some of which were folk songs performed by the choir of the parish where Bishop Thomas had been based previously. He preached himself. There was a moving and poignant end to the service as Bishop Thomas divested himself of his cope, mitre, stole and pectoral cross, (all of which belong to the diocese) to the sound of traditional cattle horns. His vestments were left on the altar as he walked out alone, dressed simply in an alb.
“Outside the Cathedral, there was a stage set up, on which took place multiple farewells and presentations from different parts of the diocese and the unveiling of his portrait. There was also a small band playing in between, performing the songs his famous jazz musician grandfather had composed, including one written for Bishop Thomas when he was four. Coffee and cinnamon buns and/or hot dogs were being served.
“Following this was dinner at the Archbishop's residence, just across the square from the Cathedral. Present were all fourteen bishops of the Church of Sweden, the two bishops elect, and international guests, which in addition to ourselves included the retired Bishop of Newcastle (representing the Archbishop of Canterbury); the Archbishop of Wales; the Bishop of Cork; bishops from Norway, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Tanzania, Mozambique; a group from the Chinese Christian Council; the Canon Precentor of Truro Cathedral, who chairs their link with the Diocese of Strängnäs, where the other new bishop would be serving; and spouses. This was a wonderful occasion, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. There were speeches and presentations between courses from some of the international guests and the bishops-elect.”
“The following day was the consecration of the new bishop, Mikael Mogren. There were 2,000 people present, many in traditional dress and clergy in frock coats. The King and Queen of Sweden were in attendance. I had an excellent VIP seat in the chancel, very close to the site of the consecration. Bishop Martyn robed and sat with the other bishops, and had been invited to lay on hands at the consecration, along with other international representatives, and to distribute communion. Very kindly we had been given orders of service translated into English, though the sermon was still a mystery! The service was similar to English consecrations in many ways, but a major difference was that they are vested with diocesan cope and mitre and given their pastoral staff and pectoral cross by the Archbishop during the service, all presented by members of their Cathedral Chapter. Sustained applause rang out as they were presented to the congregation on this joyful occasion.”