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WATCH: Packed cathedral welcomes new Bishop of Peterborough

Bishop Debbie’s sermon focused on hope

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Knock, knock but there was no need to ask more as, in time honoured way, a new bishop was installed at Peterborough. Bishop Debbie is the 39th Bishop of Peterborough and was formally installed and welcomed at a packed cathedral service on Sunday.

She was installed in her Cathedra, or Bishop’s seat, by The Revd Dr William Adam, archdeacon of Canterbury, on behalf of the archbishop, the Most Revd Justin Welby, and formally began her public ministry in the diocese.

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

The service of welcome and installation of The Right Reverend Deborah Mary Sellin as the 39th Bishop of Peterborough taking place in Peterborough Cathedral, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, on 3rd March, 2024.

The service started with Bishop Debbie banging on the door of the cathedral and being greeted by children from several of our church schools.

The dean, the Revd Chris Dalliston, then sprinkled Bishop Debbie with water as a reminder of the baptism in which all Christians are called to share.

The formal aspects of the service included the reading of the Archbishop’s mandate and legal transferring of responsibility for the diocese.

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

Oaths were made to the King and to be a ‘faithful pastor to the clergy and people of this diocese’ holding a Bible used at Peterborough Abbey in the thirteenth century.

Bishop Debbie was then anointed with oil of chrism by the Bishop of Brixworth and Archdeacons of Oakham and Northampton before being robed in the diocesan cope which carries symbols of St Peter, the patron saint of the cathedral.

The Archdeacon of Canterbury then placed Bishop Debbie in her Cathedra where she was addressed by a student from one of our church secondary schools.

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

Following this, she was welcomed by civic and ecclesiastical representatives from across all three counties of the diocese: Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, and Rutland.

Bishop Debbie was then greeted with enthusiastic applause from the congregation.

Throughout the service music was performed by the City Praise Worship Band, the children’s choir from Kingsthorpe C of E School and the Peterborough Cathedral Choirs which represented a diverse and uplifting range of worship, praise and reflection including Love Divine by Charles Wesley, Howell’s Te Deum (Colleguim Regale) and Blinded by your Grace by Stormzy.

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

Bishop Debbie’s sermon focused on hope and how we long to see change and transformation in our broken world, but we need courage and audacity to work towards this brighter future.

Reflecting on Isaiah 35, she said: “Isaiah’s message throughout the whole book is honest and its gritty, life is not good, and yet here in Isaiah 35 after messages of despair, he paints a different picture, a picture of hope and the promise of a way of life where God transforms the present and offers prosperity and blessings.”

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

The picture painted by Isaiah where the desert landscape is transformed into one of abundant life and goodness presents “an audacity of hope to believe that so much transformation can take place”.

We must see things differently, to believe that things can be different even if this contrasts with the society around us. Unless we can believe in this better world, we cannot see our part in helping it to become reality. Isaiah’s prophecies helped fuel imaginations so that actions could usher in a new radical future.

Bishop Debbie reflected on the ancient cathedral and how many centuries of ministry and teaching had served to show the world God’s hope for the future across our diverse diocese.

“It has always been the task of the people of God here to present that hope, to present it in different ways and it should always be relevant to the culture of the day and offer hope despite the struggles that are going on,” she said.

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

The service of welcome and installation of The Right Reverend Deborah Mary Sellin as the 39th Bishop of Peterborough taking place in Peterborough Cathedral, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, on 3rd March, 2024.

She acknowledged the work of all those who have worked hard in the diocese throughout the vacancy, in particular Bishop John and said how she was looking forward to working together in their shared episcopal ministry.

Bishop Debbie reflected on the Gospel reading from Matthew 5 describing how Jesus paints a picture of life in the Kingdom of God, a picture of healing, fruitfulness, peace, and joy. Not a hope that we merely wait for, to experience as we arrive in heaven, a hope for now.

“We are disciples today whose calling is to live as people of hope who both understand the harsh realities of life as well as rejoice and celebrate in the joys we experience’,” she said.

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

Bishop Debbie concluded using the words of the Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley that “I hope we will choose to live differently, dance to a different tune, to see the world through the eyes of God who died on the cross to change it” and described this journey as an adventure that she was prepared to embark on and hoped we would join her on it.

 

 

 

The 39th Bishop of Peterborough is the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin. Bishop Debbie was installed at a service in Peterborough Cathedral on 3 March 2024

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