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Bishop Sean Consecrated

The Consecration of the Rev’d Sean Semple as Sixth Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf has taken place at St Christopher’s Cathedral in Bahrain

Bishops lay hands on SeanThe occasion was a first in several ways. It is unusual for a bishop to be consecrated in the Cathedral Church of the Diocese in which he will be Bishop. Usually, these occasions take place in the Cathedral Church of the Metropolitan, in this case Jerusalem. It was the express wish of Archbishop Hosam that the service take place in Bahrain. This was the first consecration to be held in the Gulf. It was a first in other ways. Sean is the first Bishop from an African background, being born in South Africa. He has served in three Provinces of the Anglican Communion and, among other awards he holds postgraduate qualifications in Spirituality and Clinical Psychology.

The sermon was delivered by Rt Rev’d Richard Jackson, Bishop of Hereford, the Diocese in which Sean has served in the UK until recently. He noted that it is unusual for a parish cleric to be elevated as a Bishop but said that it is part of the tradition of the Church to pass on its best to enlarge their ministry in other places. He would miss Sean. The bishop also spoke warmly of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and its example of religious tolerance. “It is a role model,” he said.

In his sermon he spoke of his own ‘imposter syndrome.’ He contrasted the early “ego driven delusion” of Peter with the Gospel account of his redemption and renewed call. The key is love. Jesus calls us less to a purpose than a person. Love redeems Peter to a new vision of God’s purpose. The bishop felt that the present time in the life of the Church was a moment like that facing Peter by the lakeside. The question for Christian leadership is about what we need to let go of, in order to pass from death to life.

Sean prostrates himself as the Archbishop invokes the Holy Spirit
Sean prostrates himself before the Archbishop as he invokes the Holy Spirit

The other bishops present joined in the act of consecration. They included the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Rt Rev’d Anthony Poggo, and the Diocesan Bishops of North Africa  (representing JMECA), and Europe. Archbishop Samy of Alexandria was present in Bahrain for a high level Interfaith meeting hosted by the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence on Thursday evening, but then had to leave, following the news of the sudden death of one of his priests. The Act was led by Archbishop Hosam. The service was conducted in English, Arabic Tamil and Hindi.

Following the anointing, Bishop Sean was presented with symbols of office: the Bible, the Episcopal ring, the stole, pectoral cross and chasuble; the mitre and staff; by representatives from the cathedral and the wider Anglican family. The service then proceeded with Sean’s enthronement, beginning with the symbolic striking of the west door three times. Bishop Sean was warmly welcomed by a variety of greetings from representatives from Church and Government. The Bishop’s final response was,

I welcome leaders of other faith traditions as partners in the common good. Let us together pledge, Christian and non-Christian to harness the enormous power of collective faith to unite a world in peace.

Bishop Sean celebrates the EucharistThe service concluded with the Eucharist, celebrated by the new Bishop.. Bishop Sean’s Enthronement in the Diocese’s other cathedral in Nicosia will take place on June 22nd.