Tributes paid to former bishop of Gloucester

April 28 2017
Tributes paid to former bishop of Gloucester

THE former bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham, has died of cancer.

 THE former bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham, has died of cancer.

Bishop Michael led the diocese for ten years and will be remembered particularly in Thornbury for his support when vicar John Suddards was stabbed to death in the Castle Street vicarage five years ago.

The bishop led a special service in the town to remember Rev Suddards in the immediate aftermath of the killing, returning to conduct his funeral service in St Mary’s Church.

In a message to the diocese, the current bishop of Gloucester, the Right Rev Rachel Treweek, said: “It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you that Bishop Michael died peacefully at home on Monday evening, April 17, following a special Easter weekend with all the family.

“I will always be grateful for Bishop Michael’s wisdom, insight and friendship which I first experienced as a member of General Synod.

“It is an immense privilege to have followed in Bishop Michael’s footsteps as bishop of Gloucester and I am deeply aware of the significant impact of his ministry on the lives of individuals and worshipping communities across this diocese.” 

In 2014, Bishop Michael announced plans for his forthcoming retirement but later that year had to step back from his ministry while a subsequently dismissed allegation of indecent assault made against him was investigated.

Police found there was no case to answer and a Church of England committee approved Bishop Michael’s continuing ministry in retirement.

More than 1,000 people later attended a service of thanksgiving and celebration in Gloucester Cathedral to bid him farewell and he was also given a prolonged standing ovation at the General Synod when he received a tribute from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Stephen Farrow was jailed for life for murdering the Rev Suddards, 59, and retired Worcestershire teacher Betty Yates.