• 31 August 2019

Bishop Harold brings a ‘Farewell Charge’ to the diocese

Bishop Harold has addressed the diocese of Down and Dromore for the final time as bishop.

In the last in his series of ‘Farewell’ messages at Bible Week, Bishop Harold charged the leaders of the diocese to minister to the high standards set by Paul in his farewell speech to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20: 17–38).

Such ministry, he said, “comes out of mission, not the other way round.” It should be incarnational and willing to suffer for the Gospel. It should be a teaching, pastoral and evangelistic ministry, led by the Spirit and full of grace. And it should be warm–hearted, relational and faithful to the end.

After he had finished speaking, Bishop Harold led the people in prayer for the ministers of the diocese, then the ministers in prayer for the people. And finally, he invited all to kneel with him as he prayed for the diocese in the words of ‘God be with you till we meet again’ sung by Revd Sam Johnston.

It concluded a powerful evening and a special week of worship, teaching, ministry, and hospitality in Shankill Church, Lurgan. Bishop Harold hosted a drinks reception each evening as a way of meeting and thanking some of the people who serve so faithfully in our parishes and beyond.

In his first ‘Farewell’ message on Tuesday, the bishop called for a new generation of leaders who would be courageous like Joshua and mentored by older Christians, as Joshua was by Moses.

On Wednesday he invited everyone present to receive an anointing for the calling that God had placed upon their lives. As in 2 Kings, Elisha desired a double portion of the spirit that was upon Elijah, Bishop Harold consecrated some oil as ‘the oil of the double portion’ and the six bishops present anointed members of the congregation one by one. 

On Thursday, Bishop Harold spoke on ‘The Great Commission’ in the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel. We learned that we are called to have a message for the whole world, without discrimination, and that Jesus is Lord of all.

Each evening also featured a greeting from an overseas bishop. The first, from the Bishop of the Arctic, Rt Revd David Parsons, was brought by his former suffragan, Bishop Darren McCartney, who is back in Down and Dromore as a rector. The others were brought in person by Bishop Mouneer Anis (Egypt), Bishop Moses Zungu (Maridi) and Bishop Bill Love (Albany).

It was only the third time that all three bishops from the companionship link between Albany, Down and Dromore and Maridi had been together in the same place. Both Bishop Moses and Bishop Bill expressed their heartfelt thanks to Bishop Harold and Liz for their friendship, hospitality and encouragement in the Gospel. They also thanked the diocese for their prayerful and practical support and welcomed the continuation of our fellowship with its exchange of ideas and people.

All four of Bishop Harold’s ‘Farewell’ messages are available for download from this page on our site.

Visit our gallery section to see lots of photos.