Dear Brothers and Sisters,
After more than a decade as your Bishop and in common with my predecessor, I am writing to let you know that I will be taking a period of study leave this autumn from 5th September until late November. I will be spending most of the time at the Catholic University of America in Washington, where I will be undertaking theological research, and living at the Dominican House of Studies. Upon return, I will then take my annual spiritual retreat and a few days away. The leave will give time for prayer, reflection and renewal – key tenets of our collective mission – which, please God, will enable me to fulfil the ministry of Bishop with even greater energy in the years ahead, as I lead our Diocesan journey to become a simpler, humbler and bolder church, in accordance with our ten-year mission plan, You Will be My Witnesses.
The Diocese will be ably looked after by our two Vicars General, Canon David Hopgood, Vicar for Clergy, and Fr. James McAuley, Moderator of the Curia, and by our Episcopal Vicars and senior members of our Support and Administration Service. I am grateful to them for making this leave of absence possible. I am grateful too to the Chapter of Canons for their encouragement and support. I look forward to returning with fresh vigour for the important work ahead of Bringing People Closer to Jesus Christ through His Church through the realisation of You Will be My Witnesses. Please pray for me – as I will for you. Bishop Philip