On Monday 8 September, at a special meeting of the College of Canons, The Right Revd. Richard Frith, presently bishop of Hull, was elected as 105th bishop of Hereford.
The meeting was presided over by the Dean of Hereford, the Very Revd. Michael Tavinor and took place in the presence of diocesan registrar Howard Dellar. ‘Each nomination of a new bishop by the Crown has to be ratified or ‘elected’ by the diocese, in the form of the College of Canons’, explained the Dean. ‘It is an ancient custom and some may think it rather irrelevant, but behind the legal language is an important focus – that our new bishop is ‘elected’ or ‘welcomed’ warmly by the diocese.
The Election itself was held in the Quire of the Cathedral, each member of the College of Canons occupying his or her prebendal stall. After reading out various introductions, each member of the college was asked to ratify the appointment, using the Latin word ‘placet’ – or ‘I am willing’. At the conclusion, the Dean declared Bishop Richard as duly elected and invited all to attend evensong to prayer for our new bishop. For this, the College was joined by others – not least former members of the College of Canons or Prebendaries Emeriti, as they are called.
Bishop Richard is now styled ‘Bishop-Elect’ and we await the next stage, which is the ‘Confirmation of Election’ in London on Friday 17 October. During this ceremony, Bishop Richard is addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who will; highlight the needs of the diocese, in the light of our own Statement of Needs. After this ceremony, Bishop Richard becomes, legally, Bishop of Hereford. All that remains is for the ‘Homage’ to Her Majesty the Queen in November and the Enthronement or Installation on Saturday 22 November at 11.30am. Further details of this are shortly to be issued.