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Former Chaplain Remembered In Synod Eucharist

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At the opening Eucharist of Diocesan Synod which begins this evening (Monday 8 June 2015) in Cologne, Bishop Robert recalled the life of Bishop Ken whose Saint’s day falls today.

He reminded Synod members that Ken was, for a time, a former chaplain of the Diocese in Europe when he served in The Hague. The Bishop linked Ken’s experience with the words of St Paul from the scripture reading; “therefore having this ministry, by the mercy, of God we do not lose heart.”

Thomas Ken was a Non-Juror who lived in trouble filled times, including the years of the execution of King Charles 1st and the Cromwellian Puritan days when Anglicanism was suppressed.

Nonetheless Ken kept his Anglican roots and ministered in rural parishes in England before becoming Chaplain at The Hague in 1679, seventeen years after his ordination.

During his time there he was passionate about justice, appropriate as The Hague is now symbolic with its International Court of Human Rights.

Ken later became Bishop of Bath and Wells and was renowned for his generosity in feeding the poor – at the expense of giving a fine banquet for his wealthy and influential congregation. With his concerns in collecting money for the Huguenots in France he cared for the exiles and migrants.

He was forced to retire early and devoted himself to the writing of hymns and poems, including “Glory to thee my God this night” which the Synod congregation sang during the service.

As members begin several days of deliberations, including shaping a new direction and mission statement for the Diocese, Bishop Robert urged them to focus on faithfulness and fruitfulness rather than on success.

In the first formal session later clerical and lay delegates will focus on the challenges and opportunities of serving God in this continental diocese of the Church of England.

HEAR BISHOP ROBERT talking to Paul Needle after the service PODCAST 1