A historic moment in the lives of the dioceses of Virginia and Liverpool occurred today at Shrine Mont Retreat Center when the Rt. Rev. Susan Goff was commissioned by Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia, and Paul Bayes, bishop of Liverpool, as Assisting Bishop of Liverpool.
An historic moment in the lives of the dioceses of Virginia and Liverpool occurred Monday, May 2, 2016 at Shrine Mont Retreat Center when the Rt. Rev Susan Goff was commissioned by Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia, and Paul Bayes, bishop of Liverpool, as Assisting Bishop of Liverpool.
Bishop Bayes presented the letters commissary to Bishop Goff and both Bishop Bayes and Bishop Johnston prayed over her while the room spontaneously rose to its feet with applause, love and affection.
The dioceses of Liverpool and Virginia are companion dioceses, focusing on Jesus and Justice, that together, a bigger church might make a bigger difference in the world. This exciting appointment is more than just in title. As part of the link, Bishop Goff has visited Liverpool and her ministry of teaching and support has been very much welcomed not just by women in the diocese but by all.
“The link with the Diocese of Virginia has been important to us in Liverpool for many years,” said Bayes. “At my installation eighteen months ago it was a privilege to welcome Bishop Shannon Johnston as a guest of honour. Now, with Bishop Susan Goff’s appointment as one of our assisting bishops, we are able to strengthen our bond still further. Bishop Susan is no stranger to Liverpool and we look forward to being enriched by her wisdom as a teacher and pastor of pastors whenever she visits us.”
Among Bishop Goff's first responsibilities in Liverpool, she will be leading the retreat and preach at the ordination of priests with Bishop Bayes in June and speaking at the clergy conference in July.
Bishop Goff will continue to reside in Virginia but will make trips to Liverpool, in addition to using technology, to connect the dioceses and support our ministries. Her appointment deepens our long-standing missional relationship which includes parish to parish links, youth pilgrimages, sabbaticals, joint mission trips, and even a connection between two preschools. “What I most look forward to and am most excited about in this new relationship is the ways we will teach and learn from each other,” said Goff. “We share many common experiences across our two dioceses but we also have unique experiences in terms of what it means to be the church now in the beginning of the 21st century. And I look forward to what I will learn from Bishop Paul and from the diocese of Liverpool and to the things that I’ll be able to share from our experiences here in Virginia. I anticipate through that both dioceses will grow in our strength and faithfulness.”
Both dioceses look forward to growing in relationship through this partnership. This appointment comes with the blessing of the Archbishop of York John Sentamu and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
From the Bishop of Liverpool
"For many years the Diocese of Liverpool has enjoyed good relationships with dioceses in other Anglican provinces. Although these links have come under strain in recent times with the increase in tension across the Communion, we are committed to "walking together" with our historic partners as far as we can.
One of our long-standing partner dioceses is Virginia. Early in 2015 I invited their Suffragan bishop, Susan Goff, to take an honorary role in Liverpool. The Archbishop of York granted the necessary permissions. Accordingly Bishop Susan is able to minister as a priest and as a bishop in Liverpool, though as an overseas bishop she will not be able to conduct ordinations. This year she will lead the retreat and preach at our Ordination of Priests as well as leading one of the Bible studies at our diocesan clergy conference. She joins a number of other bishops who also have honorary assistant status with us.
I am delighted that Bishop Susan has accepted this role. I look forward to her enriching the ministry of our Diocese, and in particular to her acting as a role model for our excellent women priests.
In the Holy Scripture we read "If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Rom 12:18). In this spirit I want to continue as far as I can to walk together with all our partner dioceses, to learn from them, and to engage in fruitful conversations both about the issues which divide us and the matters that bind us together."