The Bishop of Dover and Bishop in Canterbury, the Rt Rev Dr Stephen Venner, will officially say farewell to the diocese in a special service at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday, after a decade in the job.
He moves across the county to Rochester with wife Judy, to focus his attentions full-time on his new role as Bishop to the Forces, a post he has held since July. He will also continue as Bishop to the Falkland Islands.
This week he spoke exclusively to reporter Adam Williams about his time in the diocese and admitted feeling mixed emotions.
He said: “It’s partly because retirement is something I have never done before, but I’m told it gets easier the more you do it!”
“As we approach the Holy Communion Service this weekend, I’m not sure how it will go emotionally and I have no idea how many people will be there or how I will be feeling.
“There are people I have loved working with over a period of 10 years. I’ve given myself to them and they’ve given themselves to me, so it’s not going to be easy saying goodbye.”
Dr Venner, 65, was appointed Bishop of Dover in 1999, and has undertaken the duties of the diocesan bishop on behalf of two Archbishops, first Archbishop George Carey and then from 2003, Dr Williams.
Dr Venner believes working alongside Dr Williams will be one of his abiding memories.
He said: “I’m very privileged to work with and for the Archbishop, he really is the bishop of the diocese and he asks me to lead it on his behalf.
"It would never work if we didn’t get on well together and one of the joys has been working with him.
"The way he has trusted me and my colleagues to get on with the job, but also his support, has been absolutely fundamental.
"Each Archbishop has had their own way of working for the church, at times when there have been different agendas, but both of them have wanted to see the diocese flourish.”
Read Bishop Stephen's interview in full in this week's Kentish Gazette, out Thursday.
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