The Bishop of Dorchester, the Right Revd Colin Fletcher marked his imminent retirement with two major services last weekend (Sunday 4 October).
Bishop Colin, who has served as Bishop for twenty years, led the online Church at Home service for the Diocese of Oxford. Later in the day, a socially distanced congregation of 120 plus a virtual audience of nearly 600 took part in Bishop Colin’s Farewell Service held in Dorchester Abbey.
In his sermon at the Abbey Bishop Colin recalled his many visits to primary schools across the Diocese and the questions he’s asked as a Bishop, such as ‘What’s the best thing about being a bishop?’ and ‘what’s the worst thing about being a bishop?’ The answer to both is ‘people’. But he also told the congregation, “you’ll never meet anyone God does not love.”
Many people have paid tributes to Bishop Colin’s long service in the Diocese. The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Steven Croft, speaking at the farewell service commended Bishop Colin’s virtue of stability which he described as,
“An enormous gift to the churches across the Thames Valley, to other faith communities and to Churches beyond the Church of England. It demonstrates your commitment to the local and continually seeking to affirm that which is local as the priority in the life of the Church.”
The Lord Lieutenant of the County, Tim Stevenson OBE, described Bishop Colin as, “a generous, thoughtful and stable presence. A humble and selfless priest who has supported and encouraged and quietly made things happen in a unique way and who leaves a legacy that will last and last.”
Canon Sue Booys, Rector of Dorchester Abbey, thanked Bishop Colin for his involvement in supporting the campaign for the repair and development of the Abbey together with Sir Hugo Brunner. “As he leaves, we are planning the next stage of our developmental work, improvements to the West End and later a Visitor Centre in our Guest House.”
During his two decades Bishop Colin also served with distinction as Acting Bishop of Oxford during two long vacancies. As Bishop Steven Croft has acknowledged: “Bishop Colin has helped to shape the Diocese of Oxford as much as anyone across the last 20 years.”
Bishop Colin retires after 45 years as a priest in the Church of England in November. He and his wife Sarah plan to enjoy their retirement in nearby Bladon.
- Scroll down the page for a Facebook photo gallery from the leaving service
(high resolution versions of the images available on request)
- Watch Bishop Colin preside at his final Church at Home service from Begbroke church
- Watch a recording of the streamed Farewell Service from Dorchester Abbey
- The Rt Revd Colin Fletcher OBE was Ordained Deacon in 1975 and consecrated Bishop of Dorchester in 2000
- The Dorchester Area is one of three episcopal areas in the Diocese of Oxford, the area is larger than many dioceses of the Church of England. The Area consists of the County of Oxfordshire, excluding the two deaneries in the city of Oxford. It extends from the Cotswolds in the west all the way down to Henley-on-Thames and there are 326 churches in the Dorchester area with a combined electoral roll of nearly 13,000.
- The process to appoint the next Bishop of Dorchester is underway. Details here.
- Media enquiries, please contact Steven Buckley: 07824 906839