Bishop James celebrated his tenth anniversary as Bishop of Liverpool with a special service at Liverpool Cathedral. The colourful service reflected some of the important themes of Bishop James’ ministry and particularly highlighted vocations and the call felt towards ordination.
The service started with the Bishop entering through the Cathedral’s impressive West Doors where he was met by a young boy, also called James, who greeted him using the same words from Bishop James’ enthronement service.
“Bishop James remember what Jesus said: ‘Truly I tell you who ever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it’.”
The Bishop was met at the font by children who have been baptised in the last ten years. At the font, one child presented the Bishop with water which is poured into the font.
The children then led the procession through the Cathedral carrying blue streamers and the Bishop moves to his Chair. As he passed through the people he sprinkled them with the water in thanksgiving for our baptism to life in Christ.
Later in the service the Bishop was joined by people with red streamers (representing those confirmed or who have made their First Communion in the past ten years) moving towards the central space.
There were also dramatised readings and a testimony by a young person and lay person about their faith.
There were also a celebration of lay ministry and ordained ministries with those commissioned to lay ministries in the past ten years processing to the central space carrying green streamers and those ordained in the past ten years processing to a focal point carrying gold streamers.
In his sermon Bishop James said “the quality of leadership, lay and ordained, is central to the flourishing of the mission of God in our parishes.
Taking as his theme, the calling of Samuel. He spoke about God’s call and Samuel’s response “speak for I am listening”. Addressing the congregation Bishop James said “how good it would be for us to say to him today ‘Speak Lord for your servant is listening.’ Not ‘Here I am you called’. Self confident and full of ourselves, But ‘Speak , Lord for your servant is listening’.
“I dare to believe that God is calling out of this great congregation - both young and old – new Samuels, to be priest in his church.”
The service concluded with Bishop James and Sarah Jones being led out to the door by those carrying red, gold, green and blue streamers.
Earlier, at the Diocesan Synod The Bishop of Warrington, The Right Reverend David Jennings said “For today is a really special day in the life of this diocese as we give thanks to God for his 10 years as our bishop.
We give thanks for your deep commitment to Christ, which shows itself in your care for this city and the diocese. In the city for your work in regeneration, leading to the establishment of St. Francis's Academy. For being truly the bishop for the city at moments of joy, the winning of the Capital of Culture award and of disaster, like the death of Rhys Jones. Of your ability to put the Gospel over with clarity because of your love and knowledge of the scriptures and with those memorable phrases”.