Tributes after the death of Bishop Michael

By staff reporter in Local People

Churchgoers in the county are mourning the death of Michael Perham, the former Bishop of Gloucester who retired less than three years ago.

The Right Rev Perham died peacefully at home from cancer last week after spending the Easter weekend with his family at his side.

Funeral plans for Bishop Michael are still being made but Diocesan officials have announced the service will take place in Gloucester Cathedral, where he preached regularly during his ten years in office.

A Diocesan spokesman said: "Amidst our pain and grief we are thankful that Bishop Michael died in the season of Eastertide when we celebrate Christ’s power over death, and rejoice in the hope of resurrection and life everlasting.

"In his recent and final book The Way of Christ-likeness, Bishop Michael wrote ’The Christian who goes with Christ into the darkest places of Holy Week can also embrace a new life beyond imagining.’ This is true now for Bishop Michael who is with Jesus Christ."

Bishop Michael’s successor, The Right Rev Rachel Treweek - the first woman diocesan Bishop in Church of England history - said: "I will always be grateful for Bishop Michael’s wisdom, insight and friendship which I first experienced as a member of General Synod.

"It is an immense privilege to have followed in his footsteps as Bishop of Gloucester and I am deeply aware of the significant impact of his ministry on the lives of individuals and worshipping communities across the Diocese of Gloucester.

"Of course, his gifts and ministry have enabled and influenced so much beyond the borders of this diocese, not least in the prayers and liturgies of the Church of England.

"More recently Bishop Michael has also been an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the dioceses of Bath and Wells, Carlisle, Portsmouth and Salisbury.

"As we give thanks for Bishop Michael we are also deeply thankful for (his wife) Alison, and we pray for her and the family that they will know the everlasting arms of God beneath them and around them."

The new Bishop of Tewkesbury, The Right Revd Robert Springett, who served under Bishop Michael as the Archdeacon of Cheltenham, said: "He often reminded us that Christian people are always thankful people.

"Today, even in grief, I am deeply thankful to God for him, for the privilege of sharing with him and learning from him in ministry.

"Thankful for his leadership of our Diocese and his care for its people, thankful for his commitment to our international partnerships and especially for all we shared in our visits to Tanzania and California.

"And above all else thankful for his love of liturgy, so at home at the altar presiding at the Eucharist, leading us into God’s presence, a presence he now shares in a greater light."

Married with four daughters, Bishop Perham was 69 when he died. He had been made a Freeman of the City of Gloucester at a special meeting of the City Council in March 2014 and he was an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Gloucestershire.

The date and details of Bishop Michael’s funeral will be announced when they have been finalised.

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