Friday, August 2, 2013

New Bishop of Ebbsfleet announced

The Archbishop of Canterbury with Canon Jonathan Goodall

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Jonathan Michael Goodall, BMus, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Chaplain and Ecumenical Secretary at Lambeth Palace, to the Suffragan See of Ebbsfleet in the Diocese of Canterbury, in succession to the Right Reverend Jonathan Mark Richard Baker, BA, MPhil, on his translation to the Suffragan See of Fulham on 13 June 2013.

The Reverend Canon Jonathan Goodall (aged 52), studied music at Royal Holloway College, University of London, and then, after some years working for Macmillan Publishers, trained for the ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.

He served his curacy in the Bicester Team Ministry in Oxford Diocese from 1989 to 1992, and from 1990 to 1992 also as Assistant Chaplain, HM Prison Bullingdon.

From 1992 to 1998 he was Minor Canon, Chaplain and Sacrist at Westminster Abbey. From 1998 to 2005 he served successive Bishops of Gibraltar in Europe as Chaplain and Research Assistant, and Liturgical Officer in the Diocese in Europe.

Since 2004 he has been a Priest Vicar of Westminster Abbey, and since 2005 an honorary canon of the Cathedral Chapter of the Diocese in Europe. From 2005 he has been Chaplain and Ecumenical Secretary to successive Archbishops of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace.

Canon Goodall is married to Sarah, a musician and they have 2 children, Thomas (24) and AnnaMary (19). His interests include live classical music, walking, reading and cooking. 

Fr ROSS NORTHING (Vice-Chairman of the Ebbsfleet Council of Priests) has written on the Ebbsfleet website:
Over the last two and a half years the See of Ebbsfleet has seen more that its fair share of changes. With the retirement of one bishop and the recent translation of his Successor, it is perhaps understandable that both clergy and people will have wondered what the future holds.

From before the public announcement of Bishop Jonathan Baker's translation to the See of Fulham the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, made it quite clear that a new Bishop would be appointed; and the discernment process began before his tenure ended. This process was graciously continued by the current Archbishop, The Most Rev'd Justin Welby, who has repeatedly said to those of us who have been involved in this process that promises were made in 1993/94 and that they should continue to be honoured.

In seeking to honour those promises the Archbishop invited both traditional Evangelicals and Catholic representatives to share with him in the discernment process. Great care and time has been taken throughout this period of discernment, and while the time taken will have seemed frustrating to many of the Clergy and the Faithful it is with great joy that the announcement could finally be made this morning that Canon Jonathan Goodall SSC, The Archbishop of Canterbury's Personal Chaplain and Ecumenical Secretary, has accepted the call to this noble task of being the 5th Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

Those who embrace this noble task, the Office of Bishop, are described thus in the Ordinal:

"ordained to be shepherds of Christ's flock and guardians of the faith of the apostles"

Fr Jonathan, in his initial comment upon his appointment released earlier today on this website (and elsewhere), writes:

"I'm eager to be with the parishes who belong to the See of Ebbsfleet and to serve as them as bishop, which has to mean giving my life for them."

In those few words we see already the embracing of this noble task, a calling which by its very nature is sacrificial; modelled upon the example of the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. To fulfil this sacrificial calling, this noble task, Fr Jonathan will need our love, prayer and support as no bishop exercises his ministry in isolation from the Church.

Of course, Fr Jonathan, after many years in his current role, understands well the universal nature of the Faith, Order and Sacraments of The Church, and of how his role as a bishop is not only bound up with the Local Church, but also the Universal Church. He indicates this in the same comment released this morning when he writes: "But not only for them: as bishop I promise to give my life to the Church of God as a whole." He is thus well-placed to act not only as our shepherd but as a 'guardian of the faith of the apostles.'

It is this understanding of the universal nature of the Faith that leads us to take the stand we do on Faith, Order and Sacraments. The announcement today of the appointment of Fr Jonathan as our Bishop is indeed news of a great joy, for, as well as giving a Chief Pastor to the Ebbsfleet Parishes, it gives us that reassurance that the Church of England still is capable of understanding that what it believes, professes, and celebrates is not limited to its own self-understanding, but that it is intrinsically bound up with the Faith, Order and Sacraments of the Universal Church.

So let us rejoice that 'we have a bishop.' Let us give thanks that Fr Jonathan is prepared to embrace this noble task, and let us pray for him that our heavenly Father may prepare his heart, mind, soul and body to be our Bishop; so that as he prepares to take on the fullness of Orders, he may become increasingly conformed to Christ as an ardent but gentle servant of the Gospel. And please pray also for his wife Sarah, and their son Thomas (24) and daughter AnnaMary (19), that they may rapidly feel at home among us.

Fr Ross Northing SSC

Rector of Stony Stratford with Calverton
Vice-Chairman, Ebbsfleet Council of Priests


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