Monday, March 30, 2009

Bishop of Rochester announces resignation

The Bishop of Rochester has announced plans to step down so that he can dedicate his time to defending persecuted Christians.

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali has been in the post for the last 15 years and is the Church of England’s first and only Asian bishop.

He announced he will retire in September.

"Bishop Michael is hoping to work with a number of church leaders from areas where the church is under pressure, particularly in minority situations, who have asked him to assist them with education and training for their particular situation," a spokesman was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

The bishop has been an outspoken defender of the importance of Christianity in the UK. Last year, he found himself embroiled in a row after saying that Islamic extremism had rendered some areas of the country no-go areas for non-Muslims.

Bishop Nazir-Ali said in a letter to his diocese: "We thank God for his blessings and for friends we have made in the diocese in the past 15 years.

"I am so grateful to God for the friendship and loyalty of those around us and ask for people's prayers as we take this step of faith 'not knowing where we are going'."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, paid tribute to the bishop’s “clarity of mind and expression” and his “dedication and distinction” in serving the Church and wider society.

"Bishop Michael's decision to undertake this new and very challenging ministry will leave a real gap in the ranks of English bishops,” he said.

Bishop Nazir-Ali will lead his last service at Rochester Cathedral on 12 September. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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(Source: TTCUK)

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