My dear friends,
Over the last five and more years, since my diagnosis with advanced prostate cancer, I have managed to cope with my developing illness, its ongoing treatment, the general decline in my health, and generally – I think – continued my ministry as best I can.
We have moved forward and outward together as a diocese, although not all of you may be have been happy with the directions we have taken. I am sorry for any ways I have failed in my ministry during those years. There remain a number of difficulties on my desk which will need to be handled by others.
In the last few weeks, the cancer has rather quickly taken control. My oncology and palliative care consultants informed me openly and honestly just before Christmas that I now probably have only weeks to live, and I am as prepared for that as I can be, accepting it with faith as a gift of God’s grace.
I have received wonderful care from Dr Adrian Harnett and everyone at the Colney Centre at the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital, and the local surgery, and I would like to thank them for their dedication which continues. My thanks also to so many people in our team at the White House and across our diocese.
Rather than resign, I would like to continue among you as your bishop and the father of our diocesan family until this stage of my life ends. I do not know how long that will be. I am most grateful for the ways you have cared for and so prayerfully supported me in recent years. You remain very much in my thoughts and care. As I am sure you understand, I am able to do very little, and will need to rely on others. Please can I ask you to limit any expressions of care to prayer for now, rather than anything else to which I cannot respond.
As I live now under the shadow of death, my prayer is very much that of St Paul that I may know something of the power of Christ’s resurrection and a share in his sufferings, trusting that the Lord is with me. I pray that even now I can joyfully witness something of the good news we are all called to proclaim.
With my warmest good wishes, my prayers and my love as always.
Yours in Christ,
Rt Rev Michael Evans
Bishop of East Anglia