Bishop at Heart of Eden …

Date: Friday 24th December 2010
EDEN MOVE: The Right Rev. Richard Henderson.
EDEN MOVE: The Right Rev. Richard Henderson.

CHURCH of Ireland Bishop Richard Henderson is to join an Eden parish as a team vicar.

Bishop Richard is currently the Church of Ireland Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, in the far West of Ireland, but has links in Eden going back to childhood.

He has been appointed team vicar of the Heart of Eden team ministry and will also be Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Carlisle Diocese.

Originally from London, Bishop Richard spent all his holidays in Brough as a child and was baptised there in the village’s parish church.

“I have always loved the Eden Valley and my parental family have rented a cottage in Brough for well over 50 years,” he told the Herald.

“It was also a very strong sense of vocation that made me decide I wanted to come to Cumbria. I’m looking forward to returning to my roots, living closer to family and being part of a community that I know and love so well.”

He has served as a priest in Ireland for 21 years, nearly 13 of these as bishop, and before joining the church worked as a woodworker, a teacher and a scientist.

He is married to Anita and they have three grown up children Cicely, aged 22, Pippa, aged 20, and 18-year-old Jack. The elder two are at university in Cork and Jack is taking a year out before attending university in England.

Bishop Richard’s licensing service will take place on 5th March at St. Lawrence’s Church, Appleby, at 3pm. He and his family will make the Vicarage at Appleby their home from March.

A Church of Ireland website quotes Bishop Richard as saying: “Having been Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry for over 12 years, with our children now grown up, and having reflected deeply on the gifts I can best offer, I have felt led increasingly to return to parish life and substantially to non-episcopal ministry.

“Drawing on my parochial experience in both Ireland and England, and on my time as bishop in the rural West, I look forward to translating this to a part of England where I have deep roots; I also look forward to contributing to the life of the Diocese of Carlisle in the role of Hon. Assistant Bishop.

“My time within the various facets of the life of the Church of Ireland has been rich and rewarding on many levels, so this is not a move made lightly, but equally I move forward with faith to a new chapter in ministry within the team in the Heart of Eden.”

Bishop Richard hit the national headlines back in 2007 when his wife, Anita the daughter of a Church of Ireland clergyman converted to Catholicism, a move unprecedented in modern Irish church history.

During his time with the Church of Ireland, Bishop Richard was praised by Archbishop of Dublin John Neill as having a “brilliant mind” and being “a socially caring pastoral bishop of deep spirituality”.