A cope of Many Languages for the Ninth Bishop of Birmingham
The Ninth Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart was presented with a specially designed cope as he was inaugurated in Birmingham Cathedral on Friday November 17th 2006.
The cope, which is like a cape worn over a cassock, brings together elements of Bishop David’s life from his childhood in Scotland, represented by a bagpiper, his fondness for motorcycles and an image of a cross from Holy Trinity Coventry, where he was vicar before becoming Bishop of Birkenhead in 2000. The logos of Birmingham’s major football teams, Birmingham City and Aston Villa are featured in the design alongside an image of a game of rugby.
Also included in the design are words taken from Isaiah Chapter 58 verse 12: “You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets to dwell in.” The verse is repeated in Mandarin, Lugandan and Hebrew.
The overall theme is of a spiritual journey that started with the Bishop’s birth in Scotland and continues through schooldays to his commitment to Christianity in Uganda. The path continues through images of Coventry and China to Birmingham Cathedral. Bishop David is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s link with China.
“I understand there are around 70 languages spoken in at least one household in this region. I have selected four languages, which are significant to me, which I hope will remind me that we are part of a global church and a global community” explained Bishop David
“The verse I have chosen is about dwelling places and cities. I believe that city regions have a special role in our 21st century society as places where cultures, faiths and individuals connect.
“As a Christian Bishop I want to help make those connections not only for people who go to church but for all of the 1,386,997 who live in the diocese. I hope to help make this region a place where all can dwell safely, living with generosity and without fear of their neighbour.”
Bishop David told worshippers at the inauguration service that although it was day when his name and biography would be worn out with over use, he would not be preaching of himself but of Jesus Christ as Lord.
Using a wooden mallet he went on to smash a large clay pot that was standing in the centre of the cathedral explaining that that the earthen vessel is a fitting reminder to pompous prelates and self satisfied humans everywhere of the fragility of our world and our contribution to it.
At the end of the sermon nearly 1,000 small clay pots, containing a candle, were distributed to each worshipper and the congregation was urged to pray for the people of Birmingham and region, for the church and leaders and for themselves that they may recognize and receive the ultimate treasure of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and like many here, stand up and acknowledge him as Lord.
Following the service the Bishop blessed the city and then went to the Old Joint Stock pub opposite the cathedral where people had been watching the service on a big screen.
NOTES TO EDITORS
For more information please contact Jessica Foster, Bishop’s Director of Communications on 07973 173 195
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