The Bishop of Dunwich
The Right Revd Mike Harrison
"So it depends not on our will or exertion, but on God's mercy". These are the words inscribed on Mike's episcopal ring, from Romans 9:16, a verse first brought to Mike's attention in 1989 by a South Korean Christian whose faith sustained him in great difficulties. Mike says that from an early age he has been blessed and privileged to witness Christians with deep faith around him whose lives spoke profoundly to him of beauty, love and goodness, lives which attracted him to following Jesus.
Mike's personal Christian commitment gradually grew while at University when studying Mathematics, not least through the example of Christian friends, the draw of contemplative prayer, inspiring worship, challenging preaching and robust intellectual debate. After University, Mike spent a formative period at St. Paul's Church Deptford in London as a lay-worker for the church, and following a decision to test an ordained vocation, he trained at Ripon College, Cuddesdon and then at Union Theological Seminary, New York (where he studied the relationship between psychotherapy and theology).
Mike served his curacy in the inner-city London parish of St Anne & All Saints, South Lambeth, highlights including refereeing football games between MPs and homeless men from the nearby Bondway hostel. During this time Mike married Rachel, an Occupational Therapist, and they have four children, Suzie (21), Nathaniel (18), Rebekah (16) and Sarah (13). All are here today except Nathaniel who is teaching English in South India during his gap-year. During his curacy Mike also studied for a PhD in Christian doctrine under Prof Colin Gunton at Kings' College, London. Mike then served as Chaplain to the University of Bradford and Bradford & Ilkley Community College, where an interfaith soup kitchen and fair trade café thrived in the Chaplaincy. From 1998 until 2006 Mike was vicar of Holy Trinity, Eltham, set in suburban South London. Since 2006 Mike has been Director of Mission and Ministry in Leicester Diocese.
Why the Bishop of Dunwich?
The title of Bishop of Dunwich dates from the 7th Century before the cathedral there and most of the town was lost to the sea. Dunwich was where, in the 7th Century, St Felix landed from Burgundy, and made his home as he came to bring Christianity to the peoples of this land. The modern use of the title dates from 1934, when it was given to the deputy or suffragan to the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.
The Dunwich Crozier
The Dunwich Crozier, used as the Dunwich pastoral staff throughout the Diocese, has was presented to Bishop Mike during the installation service.
The Dunwich Crozier was designed and crafted by Derek Wakeling of Wrentham, silversmith, and the oak staff turned by his brother. The Saxon 'Dunwich Ship' is depicted in the arch of the crook, and the silver ferrule is a replica of the seal of Aethelwold, Bishop of Dunwich in the ninth century.