More than 500 people packed into Llandaff Cathedral in Wales at the weekend to welcome their new bishop at her enthronement service. Bishop June Osborne, the 72nd Bishop of Llandaff, spoke of her passion for pastoral ministry within a local context, as she delivered the sermon in one of her first duties as bishop after taking her seat – or ‘throne’ at Llandaff Cathedral. She told the packed congregation that most of her strategies would be to ‘empower and strengthen the impact of the local church.’
Before the service began, as part of an ancient tradition, Bishop June had to request permission to enter the cathedral by knocking three times with her staff on the west door. She was then welcomed inside by the Dean of Llandaff, Gerwyn Capon.
Her mandate to serve as the Bishop of Llandaff was then read out and she took her oath on the cathedral Bible. She is Llandaff Diocese’s first woman bishop and the second woman bishop in Wales. During the service Bishop June was anointed with the Oil of Chrism, vested with her cope and mitre and presented with the diocesan staff – the symbol of her authority in the diocese – before being installed in her seat in the cathedral, the Episcopal Throne.
She was welcomed with applause by the congregation and greeted the cathedral Chapter and area deans along with civic dignitaries and faith leaders.
In her sermon Bishop June said, “I believe truly, madly and deeply in pastoral ministry within a local context. You may sometimes hear me described as a ‘strategic leader’ but most of my strategies will be to empower and strengthen the impact of the local church in what the Church in Wales does best, sacramental life in the public and pastoral life of families and communities. That begins with shaping the imagination of our neighbours.”
She also thanked her friends and colleagues and bishops, paying particular tribute to her predecessor Bishop Barry Morgan to whom she said the diocese owed a great debt. “I step, humbled and delighted, into taking hold of the baton and building on his legacy,” said Bishop June, who blessed the city and the diocese at the end of the service.
Welcoming Bishop June, Dean Capon said, “Bishop June’s enthronement begins a new chapter in the life of the church in this diocese and we will commit ourselves to working with her and giving her the resources she will need to bring us all into a deeper relationship with Christ.”
A ground-breaking figure in the Church of England, Bishop June served as Dean of Salisbury for the past 13 years and was the first female Dean to be appointed to a medieval cathedral, having served as Salisbury Cathedral’s Canon Treasurer for nearly 10 years. She has been active in the national life of the Church of England, serving for many years on General Synod’s Standing Committee. One of the first women to be ordained as a priest in England in 1994, having been a Deaconess since 1980 and Deacon since 1987, Bishop June’s ministry has been characterised by her passion for equality and diversity and she was a founder of the Church’s Leading Women programme. She is married to barrister Paul Goulding QC and they have two children, Megan and Tom.