Diocese of Chichester

Bishop of Horsham Farewell Service

On 15 jul 2019

In Bishop

The Bishop of Horsham, Mark Sowerby's special farewell ceremony was held on Saturday (13th July 2019) at St Mary’s church in Horsham attended by hundreds of friends, family and colleagues. 

Although Bishop Mark’s last day of Diocesan public duties was Saturday 13th July. He remains Bishop of Horsham until 31st August 2019.

Mrs Ruth Sowerby, wife of Bishop Mark, read the first lesson, Isaiah 52. 7-10, followed by Fr. Russell Stagg reading the second lesson, 1 Corinthians 1. 18-25 and Fr. Kevin Agnew led the congregation in The Prayer of the Faithful.

Bishop Mark, who has three adult daughters, joined the Diocese in 2009. He previously worked for the Ministry Division for the Church of England, prior to his post as Bishop of Horsham.

Diocesan Bishop, Dr Martin Warner comments: “From the moment of his arrival in the diocese of Chichester, Bishop Mark has been involved in challenging circumstances that have concerned safeguarding. His attention to detail and process has won widespread recognition and respect, locally and at national level.

“In this, as in the pastoral and teaching office of a bishop, he has been a consistently cheerful and encouraging presence and more recently adding to his commitments a lively interest in our church schools.”

Bishop Sowerby followed on saying: “Throughout my ten years in Sussex, I have especially enjoyed time spent in parishes. It has been a huge privilege to confirm adults and young people and to encourage them to explore their individual vocations, and I shall always be thankful to God for the faithful clergy and people of Sussex, in whose mission, for a time, I have had a share.”

Mr Trevor Cristin, a former head teacher and now Director for Education for the Diocese said, Bishop Mark had contributed to an appetite for innovation that has ‘enabled us to grow as a team.’

He went on to say: “The Education Team has greatly benefitted from the leadership of Bishop Mark. His contribution to the Diocesan Board of Education, most recently as Chair, has been characterised by kindness, wisdom and sensitivity.”

Some of the highlights of Bishop Mark’s time in the diocese.

- Bishop Mark greeted Justin Welby in 2013 when the Archbishop of Canterbury visited Sussex to take part in the final part of his ‘journey in prayer’ pilgrimage ahead of his enthronement in 2013.

- He led the diocesan safeguarding programme and chaired the national Safeguarding Training Working Group, overseeing safeguarding policy development at national level.

- As Chair of the Overseas Council he visited Cameroon and also attended the consecration of the new Bishop of Nakuru in Kenya, one of our linked diocese in West Africa and presented Bishop Joseph with a silver pectoral cross from the Diocese of Chichester and the Friends.

- He supported and judged the successful diocesan wide school’s art competition for our Year of the Bible, run by our education team in 2017.

- Bishop Mark celebrated his 25 Years of his ordination to the priesthood in 2013 at St Michael & All Angels’ in Brighton and welcomed may old and newer friends.

- The Bishop of Horsham successfully encouraged parishes across the Diocese to respond to an appeal for funds for a caseworker to provide vital support for refugees in Sussex. It raised the much-needed funds and more.

- He spoke out about library closures in 2018 saying: “we should all be concerned that there remain adequate resources of all kinds for teaching and nurture across the County.”

View a collection of images highlighting his time here on our Facebook page gallery