The bells rang out in celebration when the next Bishops of Loughborough, Willesden and Barking were all consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on a very special day for Leicestershire (Tuesday 25 Jan).
The Rt Revds Saju, Lusa and Lynne were consecrated during a Eucharist service where hundreds of family, friends, colleagues and supporters gathered and committed to continue to pray for them, and support and encourage them in their ministry. Two of Bishop Saju's children and two of Bishop Lusa's children said prayers during the service.
The service marked the feast day of the conversion of St Paul the apostle, and an insightful sermon was preached on that topic by Dr Selina Stone, tutor and lecturer in theology at St Mellitus College. She drew attention to the courage of Ananias who had been called by God to heal the blind, Saul, a leading persecutor and oppressor of Christians like himself, and the part his obedience to God played in the conversion of Saul, and she remarked on the courage of Saju, Lusa and Lynne as they accepted the call God was making on their lives.
Now Rt Revd Saju, he said: “I have been preparing for this service very much aware of what a great privilege it is that people around the world are praying for this moment. There is a very strong sense of the wider church affirming this calling.”
Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester, said: "It was such a privilege to take part in this consecration service which had a double (or even triple) relevance for Leicester. Alongside our new Bishop of Loughborough, Saju Varghese Muthalaly, we also prayed for Lusa Nsenga Ngoy who has been a colleague for the last four years. And we prayed for Bishop Guli’s new Suffragan Bishop in Chelmsford, Lynne Cullens. Leicester can be rightly proud of our track record of gifting to the wider church bishops who represent different ethnic groups and will help the church to reflect the fulness of life in Christ."
Lusa is leaving his role as Diocese of Leicester’s BAME Mission Enabler to become Bishop and Lynne will be Suffragan Bishop to the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani, who was herself the first Bishop of Loughborough (2017 – 2021).
Saju will be officially installed as Bishop of Loughborough at a special Welcome Service with civic guests and representatives of the diocese at Brockington Church of England College in Enderby, Leicestershire at 3pm on Saturday 5th February. The service is not open to the public because places are limited but it will be livestreamed on the Leicester Cathedral Youtube account.
The photo below shows Saju holding his new Bishop's staff (or crozier) which is made of Indian rosewood, standing outside St Paul's Cathedral with the Bishop of Leicester, Rt Revd Martyn Snow, as well as Saju's wife and children. A series of official photos from the service (© Chapter of St Paul’s Graham Lacdao) can also be seen further below.