New Bishop of Shrewsbury welcomed to Shropshire at Abbey service
The first female Bishop of Shrewsbury urged Christians to share their stories of faith with others at her official welcome service.
The new Anglican bishop Rt Rev Sarah Bullock received a warm welcome at her investiture service at Shrewsbury Abbey which was attended by guests from numerous community organisations and faith leaders.
She joins the area bishops of Wolverhampton and Stafford in a team led by the Bishop of Lichfield the Rt Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave.
And the town's first female bishop will have particular responsibility for the pastoral oversight of churches, ministers and communities in the towns and villages of North Shropshire, Shrewsbury, and the northern part of Telford.
At the service on Saturday afternoon she thanked the congregation and the community for its warm welcome.
And explained that she had received many cards, bouquets of flowers and callers to her new residence, welcoming her family.
In her sermon she spoke of her Christian faith and shared insights from her life and her calling to serve in Shropshire.
"All of us have a story of our journey of faith. We are all part of God's story and we all have a home in God's heart.
"That is what we need to hold on as we journey on our way as Christians."
For the ceremony she wore a colourful gown, known as a cope, featuring specially chosen themes from her life that were painted on by artist Yvonne Bell.
The images include Lichfield Cathedral, York Minister, The Wrekin, Apley Woods, themes from Wales where she has strong family links, the River Severn and a Yoruba drummer which is a nod to the time her parents spent as missionaries in Nigeria before she was born.
Among the guests to deliver a welcome speech was Lily Beers, of All Saints' Church in Gobowen, who spoke on behalf of the youth of the benefice.
Lily, who will celebrate her 14th birthday this month, told the bishop: "I pray that you will be a good servant of God and a good steward.
"I pray that you will teach young people not to care about what society thinks of us being Christians."
Other guests included Jacqui-Osmund-Smith, chairman of Telford Christians Together, and the Very Rev Canon Jonathan Mitchell, of Shrewsbury's Roman Catholic Cathedral who both gave Bible readings.
As part of the event, the Bishop of Shrewsbury blessed the Abbey's catering team and its brand new kitchen which has been installed at the rear of the worship area thanks to £20,000 in sponsorship from Shrewsbury Horticultural Society.
Rt Rev Bullock previously served in York, where she was Archdeacon and is married to husband Peter, a physicist. They have one grown up son, Joseph, who is currently studying for a doctorate.
The bishop was ordained earlier this month at St Paul's Cathedral, in London, by the Archbishop of Canterbury.