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Jim Drew
UK News

Rose Hudson-Wilkin urges unity at installation as Bishop of Dover

by Cara Bentley

Speaking at her installation at Canterbury Cathedral, she said: "Let us think what it might look like for us here in Kent, if the name of Jesus enabled us to be a unifying body. That instead of focusing on the things that separate us, we focussed on the things that we share in common.

"What if we were to recognise his presence as we seek to ensure that the resources we have been blessed with is not for amassing personal wealth but to be shared in such a way that our brothers and sisters in poverty is no longer in need?"

The Rt Revd Dr Rose Hudson-Wilkin was consecrated as Bishop of Dover at St Paul's Cathedral on 19th November and installed by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday.

She said in her address: "God's presence in our midst changes the kind of relationship we have with him and with each other. This is at the heart of the Good news message we are called on to share.

"We are deeply mistaken if the kind of relationship we seek with God is so personal and private that we exclude our brothers and sisters around us or indeed as we are in Kent, on the frontier if we exclude our brothers and sisters from another mother!

"If we are going to experience that oneness of purpose that Jesus prayed for then we will need to seek to be identified more with the name of Jesus. For too long we have been embarrassed to be associated with him. We have kept him hidden in our beautiful churches and cathedrals that we visit on our terms, for weddings, baptisms, funerals or other such special occasions like Christmas or the mandatory school service. If we are going to ignite the communities from which we come, indeed the county of Kent, then everyone of us will need to reassess our relationship with the name of Jesus."

She challenged the congregation to think about how they might share the gospel in a natural way on social media, challenge policy makers and make decisions that will help their community.

She also spoke about her own journey to the role, saying: "At the age of 14 years, I felt God's call on my life. At that time there were no women in leadership roles behind the altar. We were there though as cleaners and teamakers and flower arrangers. But I knew I was being called and naturally responded with the kind of yes that said, I will be faithful to your call but will leave you to work out how it is going to happen. Four years later I joined the Church Army (they had women) and 16 years after that ordained as a deacon and waited another 3 years when women were first allowed to be priests. During that time there was always that hunger to share Christ with others."

"Today is a new chapter in our diocese, let us commit to renewing our walk with Jesus...today I invite you to shed the cultural barriers that have locked him into special boxes and so called religious sites and enable the spirit to change our lives so that we can in turn be changing other lives through the message of the Good News."

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