Over 200 people from across the Anglican Diocese of the Riverina gathered together to farewell Bishop Rob Gillion on Saturday, who handed his staff back after four years as their 10th Bishop.
His service came to an end in much the same way as it begun, presided over by Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies at St Alban’s Cathedral in Griffith.
“One of the things I have enjoyed is the collegiality of my clergy, particularly my Dean Rob Harris, and he has became a great friend of mine in our partnership of the Gospel,” Bishop Gillion said.
Looking over his time, Bishop Gillion is extremely proud of establishing a theological institute at St Alban’s in the hopes to reinvigorate MIA youth in the ministry, to ally his fears over an aging population and a migration of youth to the cities.
“I feel I have done the best I can in the time I have been here, and I’ve been really blessed with the team that I’ve had around me.”
Dean Father Rob Harris said he will miss his personality and his knowledge of the communities.
“As a friend, he knows who I am, he knows his clergy and knows his people, and that’s the great gift he has given us,” Fr Harris said.
After travelling over 300,000 km across the Diocese of the Riverina – the third largest in NSW and as big as England, Scotland and Wales combined – Bishop Gillion will be returning to the UK for “semi-retirement.”
“I need to be refreshed ... the tyranny of distance has been exciting but has taken it’s toll.”
Based in Narrandera with his wife Janine, he says the highlights of his time here are too numerous to mention.
“Janine has been on the journey with me the whole way through, and she’s been a tremendous person. We are a good team.”
Bishop Gillion preached about Moses and his shepherd staff, and tied it in with his own Scottish staff with a new “exquisite” addition.
“God asks him to hold it at the tail and it becomes a snake, and the snake is a symbol of death and he overcame death – Jesus on the cross was lifted up high. So I had artist Scott Lyons put a snake on here, and therefore it’s connected to the Aboriginal Australians as well.”
And as a final message for his diocese, he hopes he has made the lasting impression on them as they have for him.
“There are two things: One is that God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. So don’t say ‘it’s not for me’- whatever gifts you’ve got, God will use them,” he said.
“The second thing I have said is every day is a gift from God - how we live those days are our gift to Him.
“And they have gifted me with their love, care, and support, and I hope I’ve done the same.”