A message from George, Bishop of Southwell

This personal message from the Bishop of Southwell was distributed to each parishioner in the diocese as soon as possible following his enthronement on 11th September 1999

George, Bishop of SouthwellThese past nine months since the announcement that I was to be the tenth Bishop of Southwell have been very exciting.

  • the messages of welcome, support and prayers from family friends and former parishioners, and also a host of as yet unknown friends in the Diocese of Southwell
  • the farewells to close friends and colleagues in London
  • the frantic attempts to organise the house move and to let go of accumulated possessions
  • the preparations for Consecration and Episcopal Ministry
  • all of it together very hectic and overwhelming

This was why the sermon preached by Richard Bewes in York hit home so powerfully and prophetically to me. Those simple words of Jesus Christ to Peter by the lakesideÖ "Do you love me?"

Whose call but Christís call?

Not the Monarch, not the Prime Minister, not even the Provost and Chapter of Southwell Minster - but the Church believes it is Christís call of a new person to carry out a new ministry among his people.

Whose word but Christís word?

Not my message for Southwell, not some new Christian angle on the meaning and purpose of life from George Cassidy Ė but Christís word to be discovered fresh in every generation.

Whose flock but Christís flock?

This is certainly not "my Diocese" Ė but Christ is the chief shepherd of the flock.

As I join you all as partners in the Gospel I intend to spend the first year looking listening and learning, so that I can discover how I can best serve you in the new Millennium we are entering.

+ George Southwell

About Bishop George

The bishop arriving in his diocese by trainGeorge Cassidy was born in Belfast and educated at Belfast High School studying Politics and Economics, and at Queenís University, Belfast before moving to University College, London where he met his wife Jane, who trained as a nurse.

He spent two years working in Kenya where his wife had been educated, and developed a great love and interest in Africa.

Returning to England in 1970 he studied at Oak Hill College and was ordained to a curacy at Christ Church Clifton in Bristol by Bishop Oliver Tomkins. It was Bishop Oliver who interested George in ecumenism for the first time. His first parish, St Edyth Sea Mills, Bristol had two large housing estates and there he became actively involved in Ministry among young families in particular. This was followed by the post of Vicar of St Paulís Portman Square in Londonís West End in 1982. Here he had an active involvement in Evangelism and Teaching among the many young professionals starting out their careers in the West End.

In 1987 George was appointed Archdeacon of London and Residentiary Canon at St Paulís Cathedral. Besides being Chapter Treasurer he found great delight in being involved in Cathedral worship for the first time and in particular having involvement with major national services and a choral foundation. The highlight of this time at St Paulís was when he and Jane led a choir tour to Brazil in 1996. The couple have two grown-up daughters. He lists his interests as rugby, art, chamber music and walking.

The appointment, made by the Queen through 10 Downing Street, came as a surprise. When the brown envelope arrived he left it unopened. "I thought it was a letter from English Heritage saying there were going to be no grants for some of the churches," he said. He declared himself thrilled to be appointed to Southwell. "My ministry over the last twelve years has been dominated by responsibility for the fabric and finances of St Paul’s Cathedral and the historic churches of the City of London," he said. "It’s a deep personal delight that the new emphasis of my ministry will be in preaching, teaching, pastoring and encouragement."

Mission and evangelism are high on his agenda he said, and he has promised to deliver a working style as "open and transparent" as discretion allows, both with colleagues and people in the parishes, and in his dealings with the press. "Life’s too short to be politicising around," he said.

George Cassidy was consecrated as a Bishop in York Minster on 29th June and enthroned as the tenth Bishop of Southwell in Southwell Minster on 11th September. He succeeds the Rt. Revd. Patrick Harris, who retired on Easter Sunday, after ten years in the post.

© St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 29th September 1999