This is an adventure I had never imagined setting out on!

My experience of life and ministry is that it is full of God’s surprises and this is certainly the greatest. When I first suspected that God might have designs on my life I did all that I could to find reasons to escape. I have learnt over time that this God who made us, knows us and loves us gives us good gifts. I have found that it is easy to see the gifts and potential in others and often much harder to see them in ourselves. So I am trusting the discernment of all those who are responsible for bringing me to this day.

My own experience is that discovering personally and together what we are for and about unfolds over time. The Church is no different in that. This call to be Bishop of Hull comes to me at a creative time in the Church’s life. There are all kinds of possibilities and challenges locally and nationally. I believe we need to make the most of everyone’s contribution to God’s project of human flourishing. I take inspiration from Jesus always coming to share our lives, whatever is going on. I trust that I may be able to follow his example.

I am really excited about coming to this part of the world with all your stories and characters. It is such a good time to be part of what is happening in Hull and the East Riding and across the Diocese of York. The great thing about the Church of England is that we are part of the gospel being around in every community, made real in us ordinary people. I want to be part of that and to give confidence that we have something vital to contribute wherever we live. The video made for the Hull City of Culture bid has a great phrase I want to borrow: ‘We’ve found our voice again’. And I believe we have something worth saying.

I love working with other people and it is great to know that I am coming to be part of a dynamic team. I look forward to bringing what I can from my own experience and gifts to add to that mix. I have prayed in the York Diocese and for it over some time now and it gives me great joy now to find that I am called to come and pray with you as I trust you will pray for me and with me.

You may have noticed that I am married to a Bishop. This may seem excessive! You would think that one in a family is more than enough. Believe me, this has crossed our minds. Actually, I am married to Frank and that is gift. Both our lives have been made rich by this vocation to marriage which we have been working on together with joy for over thirty years. Our vocations in ordained ministry have always been distinct; we are, after all, different people with different gifts. But we have found that in God’s wisdom that all of this seems to work out together for good.

And this is a good day for me – a day to celebrate the surprises and goodness of God which are being made flesh and blood in the people who live and work in the Diocese of York of which I am honoured to be a part.

The Revd Canon Alison White

25th March 2015

Feast of the Annunciation