Bishop Michael Henshall, R.I.P.

A tribute

On Saturday 18th February we travelled to Newcastle Cathedral to attend the Thanksgiving Eucharist for the late Bishop Michael Henshall.
Michael’s funeral had taken place the previous day at Whitley Bay with just the family present, so the Eucharist was an opportunity for family, friends and ex-colleagues to celebrate Michael’s life.

The Eucharist was celebrated by Nick, Michael’s middle son, now Dean of Chelmsford, Caroline gave a tribute and Christopher read from T.S.Eliot’s ‘Little Gidding’. Mark Boyling, Dean of Carlisle and one time in Liverpool, preached.

It was lovely to meet up with the family again. It seems only yesterday that they arrived at St Faith’s; it was in fact the late 70s. Christopher, Nick and Caroline were all teenagers then- now they each have their own grown up families.

Bishop Michael had been 20 years a parish priest and it showed in his concern for and understanding of parishes and their priests. He was pastorally very good to the clergy, but stood no nonsense.

As Bishop he formed a great partnership with David Sheppard for some twenty years. The diocese was well-structured and organised, with accountability and support provided for all clergy.

Bishop Michael, with Steve his wife, were good friends to St Faith’s. They were very hospitable, offering Martinsfield, their lovely home, for parish and charitable functions. Michael also offered constructive criticism to the vicar of the day!

Michael was a dynamic preacher, adding to his stature by standing on tip toes in the pulpit. He was humorous, good hearted and a loyal friend. He had his priorities. When he proposed to Steve he told her it was God first, Church second and her third, and that was how it was to be. Michael and Steve were devoted to each other and he never really got over her too early death.They are both remembered with affection and gratitude.

May they rest in peace.

Fr Peter and Margaret Goodrich

16th March, 2017