Michael Long died in Norfolk on the 29th August at the age of 86, ending a long and remarkable ministry in the Dioceses of York, Norwich, Sheffield, Coventry and Lincoln.
Born in Leicester in 1932, Michael learned bell ringing at Scottow Church, where he became an altar server, before his family moved from Norfolk to East Yorkshire.
After training at Kings College, London, Michael was ordained Deacon in 1956 in York Minster, by Michael Ramsey, and Priest in 1957. He served as Curate in Whitby from 1956 to 1959, and then in Cottingham from 1959 to 1961.
Michael served as Vicar of Elloughton and Priest in Charge of Brantingham from 1961 to 1966. He moved to Sheffield Diocese in 1966 before returning to East Yorkshire in 1968 as Vicar of Flamborough. In 1973, Michael returned home to Norfolk, beginning a long association with the rural parishes of the Diocese of Norwich which would continue long into his characteristically active ‘retirement’.
Returning to York, Michael served as Priest in Charge of York St Luke from 1975 to 1977, and subsequently as Vicar from 1977 to 1980. He moved to the Diocese of Coventry from 1980 to 1982, and then served as Vicar of Derringham Bank (Hull) in the Diocese of York until 1985 when he returned to the Diocese of Norwich and then Lincoln. In 1989 he was back again as Vicar of Cayton with Eastfield and Rural Dean of Scarborough (from 1994 to 1998). In 1997 Michael was appointed as a Canon of York (Prebendary of Fenton), and he remained on the Minster’s governing body until 2003.
Michael officially ‘retired’ in 1998, but he accepted an invitation to become Priest in Charge of York St Clement with St Mary Bishophill Senior from 1998 to 2003, and finally as Priest in Charge of Trowse, St Andrew in Norfolk from 2003 to 2012.
Michael once wrote that his Licensing at St Clement’s was “The beginning of some of my happiest years of ministry”.
Michael relinquished his Canonry in 2003 when he moved to Norfolk, and he was made a Canon Emeritus in that year. It was formally recorded in the College of Canons’ Minutes for June 2003 that “The Minster will miss his wise counsel and his invaluable help in taking many services in the Minster”.
Michael moved to a seaside apartment in Cromer in 2012 and over the following years he frequently covered duties as an honorary assistant priest in local parishes.
On his diamond anniversary in 2016, Michael said, “I always wanted to return and settle in Norfolk and the opportunity came when the Bishop of Norwich invited me to take care of the parish of Trowse where I spent nine happy and rewarding years. One of the great joys in this vocation is that you are meeting people all the time, and the majority of them are fantastic.”
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.