Thursday, 2 January 2020

Being Pigheaded to the Glory Of God. (He Was My Bishop, I Met Him Only Once.)

Oliver Tompkins, a noted Ecumenist, was the Bishop of Bristol, U.K. from 1959 - 1975.  As such he was my sponsoring Bishop when I went to Theological College /Seminary in 1972. 

But I met him only once -  and I'll tell you more about that tomorrow (a meeting which enabled me to meet two very famous (in the Church world at least) ecclesiastical  figures).

Bishop Tompkins delegated his work with "would be Priests" to  what were called Diocesan Directors of Ordinands.  

My first was Geoffrey Paul, later Warden of Lee Abbey in Somerset, and subsequently first Bishop of Hull, and then Bishop of Bradford.  He was a gentle man of God. (His daughter Jane Paul married one Rowan Williams,  yes that Rowan Williams who later became the Archbishop of Canterbury.)

My second was Peter Coleman, the husband of a German Princess. Peter was a liberal Churchman with a big heart.  He and I hit it off splendidly.

Peter Coleman became a much loved Bishop of Crediton in  Devon-shire until his untimely death in  terrible road accident.

By the time I was ordained Deacon in Bristol Cathedral (June 1976) the Bishop of Bristol was one John Tinsley.  He had never before seen me, nor I him.

Back to Bishop Oliver Tomkins.  He was a moderate liberal who tried to be gracious to priests and congregations of all stripes.

But I love these words of his!

"O God of truth, grant me grace to know when to stop being tolerant and when to be pigheaded to thy glory."

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