Bishop Paul White retires after 30 years of service

Bishop White praised for years of hard work by Archbishop of Melbourne

Bishop White at his farewell service on Sunday 25 June

By Stephen Cauchi

July 2 2017The Anglican Church has farewelled Bishop Paul White, who is retiring after over 30 years of service to the Church – including 15 as a Bishop in the Diocese of Melbourne.

Bishop White’s farewell was marked by a Sunday evening choral evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral on 25 June, followed later in the week by a farewell service in St James’ Old Cathedral, and morning tea in St James’ Close, West Melbourne.

Bishop White was most recently a part-time Assistant Bishop for Growth Areas Ministry. Prior to that he was the Bishop of Jumbunna Episcopate from 2015 to 2016; Bishop of the Southern Region from 2007 to 2015; and Bishop of the Western Region from 2002 to 2007.

He also served as Director of Theological Education from 2000-2007.

Bishop White, 67, was ordained as a priest in 1986 in the diocese of Canberra and Goulburn. Shortly after being ordained he took a Lucas Tooth scholarship to England to undertake a master’s degree in pastoral theology at the University of London. He also ran a parish part-time.

He and his wife Robyn are parishioners at Christ Church in Brunswick.

"With gratitude we acknowledge the enormous contribution of Bishop Paul White," Archbishop Philip Freier told the St Paul's service.

"We thank God for his ministry and pray for God's blessing on him in his new phase of life and ministry."

At St James’ Close, the temporary diocesan head office, Archbishop Freier praised both Bishop White and Mrs White for their years of service and their ongoing commitment to Christ Church.

“Knowing both of your characters, we know that you’ll be highly engaged in whatever you do,” said Archbishop Freier. “Thank you and God bless you.”

Former Tasmanian Bishop John Harrower, who is now Bishop assisting Archbishop Freier in his role as Primate, told the morning tea gathering at St James that Bishop White’s “hospitality, generosity and kindness have been a constant for me throughout our time together.”

Bishop White told TMA that he would still be available for locum duties despite being retired.

Looking after his grandchildren, fitting his home with solar panels, and performing odd jobs and gardening at Christ Church would also help fill in the time, he said.

Bishop White said he was “very grateful” for his decades in the Church. One of his career highlights, he said, was being appointed Director of Theological Education.

“It was in my mind the best job in the Diocese because I was constantly talking to people who were enthusiastic about wanting to serve God and express their faith and share it with other people,” he said.

“It was a great opportunity to help people discern their vocation and their path forward and to support them when and how I could. And, ultimately, to see them ordained and then to continue their training after ordination and support them that way.”

He urged the Church to be proactive in response to the recent Australian census, which showed a continuing decline in Christianity.

“I think we need to take a root-and-branch approach and be very thorough in our selection and training of clergy so they can relate to society as we find it today.

“We need to be focussed on the parishes that we have already being the very best they can be.”