Church of England welcomes its new ’Bishop of Atlantis’ to Suffolk

Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich the Rt Rev Martin Seeley, left, with the new Bishop of Dunwich Rt Revd Dr Mike Harrison during the installation ANL-160228-110657001
Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich the Rt Rev Martin Seeley, left, with the new Bishop of Dunwich Rt Revd Dr Mike Harrison during the installation ANL-160228-110657001

The Bishop of Dunwich was installed this afternoon at a service of celebration in St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

The Rev Dr Canon Mike Harrison, 52, became Bishop of Dunwich at an ordination ceremony in Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, while today’s service installed him in the diocese.

Bishop of Dunwich Mike Harrison ANL-160227-161818001

Bishop of Dunwich Mike Harrison ANL-160227-161818001

Bishop Mike admitted he has to get to know the county, having only been to Suffolk once before, for a family holiday.

Dunwich’s last church fell into the sea in the early 1900s, but the post is assistant to the Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, which covers about 1,400 square miles and 72,000 people.

But the new bishop, who began working life as a management consultant, sees no reason for changing the the name of the post.

“As my daughters colourfully put it, I’m the Bishop of Atlantis,” he said before the service. “That’s caught their imaginations.

“It’s how we use that attention and allow it to be a vehicle for engagement with the Gospel.

“One could spend one’s time revising traditions, but my own experience of the Church of England is that that can be exhausting and take up energy and time that could be better spent in spreading the word of the Gospel.”

He will be based in Mendelsham, which he says is conveniently between the cathedral and the diocesan offices in Ipswich.

“It is beneficial that we have one bishop in Ipswich and one in rural Suffolk.”

Though he has had urban and suburban parishes, he is no stranger to rural life, having been brought up in a village and having spent the last 10 years at a rural Leicestershire parish. His wife Rachel is an occupational therapist and they have four children aged 13 to 21.

Today’s service was attended by the county’s civic dignitaries, members of the judiciary and armed forces and its High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant.

During the installation, Bishop Mike was handed the Dunwich Crozier, which was commissioned for the Millenium and was designed and made by Wrnetham silversmith Derek Wakeling, who mounted it on an oak staff turned by his brother.

For a report and pictures, see Friday’s Bury Free Press.