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Children and young people at heart of bishop’s installation
CHILDREN and young people will be at the heart of a special service at which the new Bishop of Portsmouth will be formally installed in our cathedral.
Two students from Charter Academy will lead the Rt Rev Jonathan Frost into Portsmouth Cathedral at the start of the service on March 12 – to symbolise his commitment to the place of children and young people in today’s Christian communities.
Those two students will also present Bishop Jonathan with his bishop’s robes and mitre during the installation service. The bishop had already met both of them when he was unveiled as our new bishop at Charter Academy in October.
One of them, Christina Barnard, said: “We were thrilled to be with Bishop Jonathan when his appointment was announced, and are now excited to be part of his very special service.”
Bishop Jonathan legally became the tenth Bishop of Portsmouth in a ceremony with the Archbishop of Canterbury in January. This installation service will see him formally installed in his ‘seat’ in Portsmouth Cathedral, which is the mother church for the Diocese of Portsmouth.
Hundreds of dignitaries, churchgoers, community leaders and church school representatives have been invited to the service, which happens at 3.30pm on Saturday 12th March. Bishop Jonathan has requested that young people take major roles in the service, to reflect his vision.
Bishop Jonathan said: “One of my priorities is to enable the Church to share the good news of Jesus Christ with this emerging generation. Young people are not the Church of tomorrow, they are the Church of today.
“I want to encourage the churches in our diocese to prioritise those things that I know young people and so many of us are passionately concerned about – the scandal of poverty, the epidemic in mental health issues, and the importance of combatting climate change.”
Children and young people will make up the majority of the three groups that will sing throughout the service. Choristers from Portsmouth Cathedral Choir will join forces with children from Choir Church, based at St James’ Church, Milton, and Cathedral Sing, which is the cathedral’s project to provide singing workshops in schools around the diocese.
The 24 adults and children from Portsmouth Cathedral Choir will be joined by up to 30 eight to 11-year-olds from Meon Junior School, who will sing in their blue and purple Choir Church hoodies. And the 35 six to 10-year-olds from Cathedral Sing workshops will come from Carisbrooke C of E Primary on the Isle of Wight; St James’ C of E Primary, Emsworth; and Emsworth Primary Schools – as well as Arundel Court Primary; Newbridge Primary; St John’s RC Primary and Portsmouth Grammar School, all in Portsmouth.
The service will begin with Bishop Jonathan outside the west door of our cathedral. He’ll be dressed simply in a white robe, and will be led inside by the students from Charter Academy and representatives from his previous posts in Guildford diocese and York Minster. They’ll process through the west door and the bishop will be formally ‘presented’ to the congregation and swear allegiance to the Queen and the Church of England’s interpretation of the Christian faith.
He’ll be anointed with oil by some of the senior diocesan staff, and then presented with his bishop’s robes and insignia by Oren and Christina from Charter Academy. The Archdeacon of Canterbury will then escort him to his seat in the cathedral and formally ‘install’ him into it.
After a fanfare of trumpets by a team from HM Royal Marines Band Service, a child will then remind Bishop Jonathan that – first and foremost – he is a child of God. Bishop Jonathan will then greet representatives from the city, community, other denominations, other faiths and link churches in other parts of the world. Bishop Jonathan will then preach and lead prayers, including for those suffering in the conflict in Ukraine.
He will then be presented with his bishop’s crozier by Debbie Sutton, the lay chair of our Diocesan Synod. It was Debbie who received this crozier from the previous Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, and laid it onto the cathedral altar during his farewell service in April 2021.
At the end of the service, Bishop Jonathan will walk out of the Great West Doors alongside young people, as another trumpet fanfare plays, and invite the entire congregation to join him outside. He’ll then bless the city and the diocese from Cathedral Green.
Although ticket availability is limited, the service will be live-streamed on the cathedral and diocese’s Facebook and Youtube pages. Find out more on www.portsmouthcathedral.org.uk/live.
Because of the limited availability, Bishop Jonathan also intends to preach and lead Communion at Portsmouth Cathedral, at 11am on Sunday 13th March. He will also preach at an Evensong service at 3pm on March 13 in St Mary's, Cowes.
Bishop Jonathan’s new role will involve him leading the Church of England’s Diocese of Portsmouth, which covers 133 parishes across south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. His previous role was as Dean of York. Before that he worked in the Guildford diocese, and then as Bishop of Southampton.
Among his priorities are prayer and spirituality, evangelism, discipleship, and working alongside others to tackle the scandal of poverty. He has already stressed the importance of tackling the epidemic of mental health issues among young people and how vital it is to work towards climate justice.
Jonathan is married to Christine, an integrative child psychotherapist. They have three adult children. He supports Fulham Football Club. He enjoys live jazz, the Taizé community, armchair sport and walking.