Bishop Peter is to undergo treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia.
He will step back from work immediately as his treatment begins this week. He shared the news with his staff team earlier today and, in a letter to the diocese, said he faced a “challenging” few months as he begins a course of chemotherapy.
He wrote: “This has been a challenging year for all of us and the Coronavirus has meant that many of the things we had planned for this year have either had to change or have been put on hold.
“I am writing now to inform you that I too am facing a challenging few months.
“I have not been entirely well in recent weeks and on Friday I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. I am really grateful to the doctors who I have been seeing and for the speed in which treatment is to be provided.
“I have informed my colleagues on the Bishop’s Staff and I am confident that everything in the diocese will continue to run smoothly whilst I step back for a while. Jane and I have a wonderful family who have been very supportive and we are grateful to all our family and friends for their support, encouragement and prayers. I shall continue to pray for you all and would be grateful for your prayers.
“The psalm at Morning Prayer today had the words ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts.’ As I put my trust in the hospital staff, who I know will provide me with the most wonderful care, I am also trusting in the Lord, knowing that he too will watch over me in the days ahead.”
Bishop Ruth, who began a period of annual leave and sabbatical just two weeks ago, will return at the beginning of September and will be in regular touch with staff until then.
She said: “I realise the news of Bishop Peter’s illness will come as a shock to us all and we send him, Jane and the family our love and our commitment to pray for him daily. We trust in the God who holds him in the palm of His hand and whose love is unquenchable.
“I was planning a three month study leave to begin in August however I will be deferring this for now. May Bishop Peter and all of us know the peace of God which passes all understanding and may it keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge of His love, for each of us, daily.”
As Bishop Peter begins his treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, the Diocesan Healing Advisory Group offer the prayer below, starting with the words from Psalm 28 that Bishop Peter quoted as he shared the news of his illness. There is both peace and power in praying together – praying with and for each other and offering our hopes and fears to the God who we believe is present in all things.
O Lord, you are our strength and our shield.
Your love sustains us through all the challenges we face.
We place into your hands all who are facing challenges,
In this time of such uncertainty.
We hold before you all who are dear to us.
Particularly we pray for our Bishop, Peter,
His family and friends and all who love him,
As they face these coming months.
May they know your strength and protection,
Your healing and your love,
In the name of Jesus,
And in the power of the Holy Spirit,