Three knocks at the door of Rochester Cathedral for historical bishop ceremony

  • Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham

The Diocese of Rochester's 108th bishop carried on the historic tradition of knocking three times at the doors of the magnificent cathedral to mark his instalment in the role.

Leading the second oldest Diocese in the country, The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Gibbs serves more than one million people across 215 parishes in Medway, north and west Kent and the London Boroughs of Bromley and Bexley.

The ritual outside of Rochester Cathedral signifies the bishop's request to be welcomed by the congregation.

In his sermon, Bishop Jonathan connected to worshippers by telling them he understands the challenges brought with recent significant life events,

Bishop Jonathan is welcomed into Rochester Cathedral Credit: Diocese of Rochester

"With COVID 19 and everything that went with it, then the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, with all its consequences, the death of our longest-serving and much loved Queen Elizabeth, the cost of living crisis and of course the huge challenge of climate change.

"Taking all these things together. And with them coming one on top of the other. These indeed feel like unprecedented times, certainly within living memory."

"And the cumulative effects of these events has been truly traumatic for many of us, leaving people feeling exhausted physically, emotionally and spiritually as well as uncertain and anxious about what the future may hold.

"That is the reality of where we find ourselves at this point in our history."

  • Watch: Bishop Jonathan describes what it means to be leading The Diocese of Rochester'

Bishop Jonathan, who grew up in Cheshire before being educated at Jesus College in Oxford and Cambridge, told ITV News the church is trying to help people through these challenging times,

"What we saw in Her Majesty's life, of course, precisely was the centrality of the Christian faith for her and the hope and certainty that gave her in the midst of all the turmoil that she witnessed in her life.

"And a huge part of our message to the world is that is the sure foundation of God's love for us in Christ and the way that that can see us through and guide us through these difficult times.

"Churches up and down the country are offering practical help for people, like food banks, but also signposting people to advice from organisations like Christians Against Poverty to help them with the challenge of debt."

The Diocese of Rochester serves 1.3 million people Credit: ITV News

Carol Stewart of the Medway African and Caribbean Association hopes the new bishop will be able reach out to all communities across the Diocese.

"I think it's very important and I'm really pleased that we've got somebody who is willing to engage with the wider community.

"We've already started doing some work with Rochester Cathedral. We had a Young People's Talent show, which they partly sponsored here in July, and that was a great success.

"They're already talking to us about doing some work during Black History Month and beyond and supporting us with our Black Heritage projects as well. So it's really exciting times."

"It's important, that particularly young people and the wider community feel that they can they can go and talk to or engage with with with with the church without feeling pressured.

Bishop Jonathan added, "The phrase I use is 'roots down, walls down'. Our roots are down in our Christian faith, but the walls are down. We're open to everybody. We're there for everybody."