THE new Bishop of Tonbridge Simon Burton-Jones has been consecrated at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The Eucharist service was taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, last week with the bishops of Bristol and Bradwell were bestowed the title of Right Reverend.
Rt Revd Burton-Jones received the three items that represent his office: an episcopal ring, a pastoral staff and a pectoral cross. They were made by Kent craftsman Andrew Lapthorn.
Two of them were crafted from 4,500-year-old ‘bog wood’. Simon was involved in their design, incorporating within them symbols that are important to him.
These included the Syrian Orthodox cross to set his ministry in the context of the wider world; an anchor representing Christ but also recalling his upbringing in the seaside town of Fleetwood; and two spires, referring to a spiritual scene in an episode of the political drama West Wing – of which the Bishop is a huge fan.
He explained the West Wing reference by saying: ‘God speaks to us through many different sources and we can relate the gospel to culture in the most exciting and invigorating ways.’
As Bishop of Tonbridge, Rt Revd Burton-Jones will focus on evangelism and growth, and will play a leading role in education and issues concerning youth and children.
The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, said of the appointment: ‘I am delighted that Simon Burton-Jones has been appointed as the next Bishop of Tonbridge.
‘He is a thoughtful theologian and gifted communicator. As Archdeacon of Rochester he has supported the mission of the Church in some of Kent and Medway’s most deprived communities.’
PICTURE: SERVICE WITH A SMILE: Simon Burton-Jones (centre) at St Paul’s Cathedral. PHOTO: Graham Lacdao