At a wonderful service in the German Church in Knightsbridge, London, UK the Rt Rev Tor B Jørgensen was received as Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain. Bishop Martin Lind, the retiring Bishop, presente Bishop Tor with his pectoral cross and mitre during the service, much to everyone’s amusement because Bishops in the Norwegian Church, from which Bishop Tor comes, don’t wear mitres, so this is something new he’s going to have to get used to!
Opening the service Bishop Martin said that the future for our world looks dark in so many ways. There is anxiety about the environment, wars and terror in so many parts of the world, and secularism in our own countries. Christians should never be tempted to say things are not so bad! We are called to be realistic, because we believe in the steadfast love of God, and it is our task to enable the darkness of the world to be lightened by that love. Bishop Martin wished Bishop Tor God’s blessing as he takes up his new work. ‘May your time be warmed by the steadfast love of God,’ he said.
The formal part of the service was soon over. Bishop Tor expressed his willingness to assume the role of LCiGB Bishop and to discharge all his duties with God’s help. The congregation affirmed their willingness to receive Tor as their Bishop and promised to pray for him and honour him. Bishop Martin proclaimed Tor the new bishop to great applause.
The worship continued with a Eucharist presided over by the new Bishop. In his sermon he told the congregation that 45 years ago LCiGB was just an acronym he came across when he was studying in Queen’s College in Birmingham. He then went to serve in the Japanese Evangelical Lutheran Church which, like LCiGB, is a small minority church. But whereas there have been Lutherans in England since Reformation times, JELC dates from just 1893 when the first missionaries from USA arrived.
Small can be beautiful, the Bishop said. Members of minority churches can have a strong sense of identity, fellowship and belonging. However, small can also mean fragile, and there is always the danger of division. But there is nothing dangerous about being small and weak. St Paul tells us, ‘When I am weak, then I am strong!’ (2 Corinthians 12.10) God promises, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ (2 Cor 12.9)
Grace, said Bishop Tor, is a beautiful word. It lies at the heart of being Lutheran. God’s grace transformed Martin Luther. It is God’s free gift to us all. Those who know Jesus can say, ‘We have seen his glory… full of grace and truth.’ (John 1.14) And John goes on to say, ‘From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.’
‘I don’t know the future,’ Bishop Tor said wryly, ‘I shall soon be 74 years old and I get tired. But God’s grace will be there and together we shall be able to reflect his grace in times of uncertainty. As St Peter said, “We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved’ (Acts 15.11)
When the service was over, and photos taken on the steps of the church, back the church hall, a cake was cut, and our Lutheran Moderator, Jaakko Rusama, was among those who formally greeted the new Bishop. Indeed, our Society was very well represented by our Patron, Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, our President, John Arnold, our Secretary, Dick Lewis, and several members of the executive committee and ohter members, among them Bishop Tor himself!
Author: Dick Lewis. The Window – The Anglican-Lutheran Society. Issue No. 120, October 2019.
More pictures from Facebook.