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Bishop Christopher Hill receives Lambeth Degree

Thursday 16th January 2014

The Archbishop of Canterbury awarded Bishop Christopher with the Lambeth Doctor of Divinity in recognition of his 'long and distinguished ministry', which has focused on fostering ecumenical relations

Bishop Christopher Hill was awarded a Lambeth Doctor of Divinity by Archbishop Justin Welby last night in recognition of his significant contribution to the life of the church over many years.

In a ceremony at Lambeth Palace, Archbishop praised Bishop Christopher’s "long and distinguished ministry" which has focused on serving the ecumenical commitment of the Church of England.

Bishop Christopher served at Lambeth Palace for 15 years in ecumenical relations - first under Archbishop Michael Ramsay, followed by Donald Coggan and then Robert Runcie - where, Archbishop Justin said, he became "renowned for the quality of his mind as well as the graciousness of his spirit.

"The conversations and commissions that flowered during this period and beyond are a testimony in part to his fruitful work, both behind the scenes and in formal participation," the Archishop added.

That period saw, among other developments, the Meissen Conversations (1987-88) and the watershed agreement bringing closer visible unity with non-episcopal bodies in East and West Germany, paving the way for the Porvoo conversations which followed with the Nordic and Baltic Lutherans (1989-92) and the Reuilly conversations in France (1994-97).

Bishop Christopher went on to be Canon Precentor of St Paul’s before being consecrated as Bishop of Stafford in 1996. He later became Bishop of Guildford, where he continued to extend hospitality to ecumenical guests, and to contribute nationally and internationally on the Church of England’s Council for Unity, in the Bishops’ Europe Group, and on the Conference of European Churches.

Archbishop Justin also praised Bishop Christopher’s "remarkable" academic contributions - including co-editing Anglicans and Roman Catholics: the Search for Unity and Anglican Orders: the documents in the case - which he noted had always been undertaken "in the midst of heavy ministerial responsibility."

“By awarding the Doctor of Divinity, we are acknowledging Bishop Christopher’s outstanding insight and scholarship, which are woven into a significant portion of the documents produced over the last 35 years which have shaped our friendships and fellowship in the Church of England, in the Anglican Communion, and far beyond."

Read the Archbishop of Canterbury's citation below


Archbishop Justin's citation for the award of Lambeth Doctor of Divinity to Bishop Christopher Hill, Lambeth Palace Chapel, 15 January 2014

Bishop Christopher has had a long and distinguished ministry, focused in serving the ecumenical commitment of the Church of England.

He served here at Lambeth Palace for 15 years in Ecumenical Relations, first under Archbishop Michael Ramsey (at the end of his time), then Donald Coggan and Robert Runcie, where he became renowned for the quality of his mind as well as the graciousness of his spirit.

The conversations and commissions that flowered during this period and beyond are a testimony in part to his fruitful work, both behind the scenes and in formal participation. Consider the Meissen Conversations (1987-88) and the watershed agreement bringing closer visible unity with non-episcopal bodies in East and West Germany, paving the way for the Porvoo conversations which followed with the Nordic and Baltic Lutherans (1989-92) and the Reuilly conversations in France (1994-97). Christopher served as co-secretary of ARCIC from 1974-81, where his theological acumen and drafting skills became invaluable, not least for Church and Communion and Salvation and the Church and continuing long after he formally left the role, as a member of the group which prepared ARCIC’s Clarifications on Eucharist and Ministry (1994).

By this time Christopher was Canon Precentor of St Paul’s. When the time came for him to be consecrated as Bishop of Stafford in 1996, among the hands laid upon the candidate were those of a Norwegian Lutheran bishop for the first time ever: the Bishop of Oslo –a most fitting occasion.

As Bishop of Guildford latterly, Christopher has continued to extend hospitality to ecumenical guests and to contribute nationally and internationally – variously as chair or president - on the Church of England’s Council for Unity, in the Bishops’ Europe Group and on the Conference of European Churches.

Christopher’s academic contribution to the field – always undertaken in the midst of heavy ministerial responsibility - has been remarkable. Together with Edward Yarnold he edited Anglicans and Roman Catholics: the Search for Unity (1994) and Anglican Orders: the documents in the case (1997). He has also written a large number of scholarly articles and essays on the subject of ecumenism as well as in the area of canon law.

By awarding the Doctor of Divinity, we are acknowledging Bishop Christopher’s outstanding insight and scholarship, which are woven into a significant portion of the documents produced over the last 35 years which have shaped our friendships and fellowship in the Church of England, in the Anglican Communion, and far beyond.

It gives me great pleasure to confer this degree.


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