Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James, was delighted to install Fr Paul along with the Rev Julian Pursehouse, Chair of the East Anglia Methodist District and Pastor Jon Norman of Soul Church, as ecumenical canons in front of a full Cathedral on Sunday January 22.
Joined with clergy from around the diocese, a congregation from a range of Christian traditions and by the choirs of Norwich Anglican Cathedral and of St John’s RC Cathedral, Bishop Graham underlined the importance of Christian unity and that the appointments of these ecumenical canons further illustrate the deepening relationships between the different churches in Norwich and more widely in the Diocese.
Bishop Graham said: “I am delighted that Fr David Paul and The Rev Julian Pursehouse accepted my invitation to become ecumenical canons of our cathedral church, illustrating the partnership in the gospel we enjoy with the Roman Catholic and Methodist churches.
“I am delighted too that Jon Norman from Soul Church accepted my invitation to become an ecumenical canon. Along with his wife Chantel, he leads a very large and growing community church and has quickly become a significant church leader in our city.”
Fr David Paul said: “This is a very tangible expression of our friendship, co-operation and working together. Because we are a two-cathedral city it seems to make sense to work together and participate in lots of good works that we can do – and have joint services such as we’re having on Good Friday for example. I was very pleased to accept the invitation as a sign of our friendship and working together for the service of the gospel.”
Rev Julian Pursehouse said: “It’s a very gracious invitation on behalf of the Bishop and the Diocese and an indication of the extent of the friendship and the cooperation between the different traditions and churches. I’ve always felt that the cathedral has a role to play in enriching the Christian community in the widest sense. I am very keen for many of our folk to come and share in the activities here when there are things on, things that they can benefit from and I think the denomination is immaterial really. I think it is such a significant place and community to resource; for not just the diocese, but other Christians too.”
When asked about why he accept the invitation to be an ecumenical canon, Pastor John said: “I think this is a step towards unity and we’re going stronger in our relationships and links in organisations and churches in the city and this a step towards that. I’m honoured to be a part of that, and I think we all play a part in that.”
The Very Rev Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich, said: “The Dean and Chapter are delighted that Bishop Graham has appointed three new Ecumenical Canons for the Cathedral. We hope through these appointments to continue to strengthen our good relationships with our brothers and sisters at the Roman Catholic Cathedral, in the Methodist District and in the Independent Free Churches. We have so much to give and to receive from each other and most important of all this gives us the opportunity to think further about our joint witness to Christ.”
Pictured above are, from the left, Pastor Jon Norman, the Very Rev David Paul, Rev Julian Pursehouse, Very Rev Jane Hedges and Bishop Graham James.