Congratulations to Bishop Clive Handford who has been celebrating 50 years in ordained ministry.
Though retired, Bishop Clive is still active in ministry and on Sunday May 25th, the anniversary of his ordination as priest in May 1964, he is presiding and preaching at the Parish Communion at Kirby Hill, where he lives with his wife Jane, near Ripon
Bishop Clive was ordained at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire, but more than half of his ministry has been in the Middle East - first as Dean of Jerusalem in the ‘70s and then Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf from 1996 until his retirement in 2007.
That, he says, has brought its own particular experiences. “Much of it has meant living among people of another Faith, Islam, with its shaping of the society in which we lived. My understanding of the Church was broadened by mixing with a wide range of people, not least with those from the ancient oriental churches, and being priest for those of a wide range of nationalities and church backgrounds.”
Looking back what changes has he seen. “In some ways, it was a different Church from today's - no synodical government, very male dominated, more clergy and parishes in smaller groups if grouped at all. I was fortunate to serve under a wise, kindly if somewhat forgetful Vicar!”
Throughout his ministry says Bishop Clive, he has had the firm support of his wife, Jane, and for the last thirty seven years of their daughter, Catherine.
At the heart of his ministry, wherever it has been exercised, has been the privilege of coming close to people in their joys and sadnesses and seeking to find God in them all. He adds, “Undergirding it all has been the privilege of celebrating, as we used to say, or, as we now perhaps more properly say, presiding at the Eucharist. The Preacher's text at my ordination was "Faithful is the One who calls you, who also will do it". I am conscious of the strength of that faithfulness which has enabled my ministry despite my unworthiness, and for all that ‘Thanks be to God’.”