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Farewell Bishop Henry

Henry Scriven, retiring mission director for Latin America, will leave a legacy of sustainability and goodwill

Bishop Henry Scriven, who served as suffragan bishop in Europe and assistant bishop in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, will retire on 31 December, when he leaves his current position as mission director for Latin America at Church Mission Society in Oxford.

Bishop Henry was ordained in 1975 and began his ministry as a curate in Wealdstone, north London before relocating to Northern Argentina to work for the South American Missionary Society (SAMS).

After a period serving the Episcopal Church in Arkansas, Bishop Henry moved to Spain where he spent time working with SAMS in the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church and then as chaplain for the British Embassy Church in Madrid.

In March 1995, Bishop Henry was consecrated as suffragan bishop in Europe, by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey. From 2002 to 2008, Scriven served the Diocese of Pittsburgh as assistant bishop, before moving to Church Mission Society in 2009 to take up his current role as mission director for Latin America as SAMS and Church Mission Society prepared to merge.

Reflecting on 40 years in mission, Bishop Henry remarked on the vast changes he has seen.

He said: “For a long time missionary societies in the UK have been sending missionaries to South America with the belief that we, as westerners, had something to give them. While CMS continues to send missionaries to the region, we do so now with the understanding that our people are going as facilitators, complementing the work of our local partners who are already based in South America.” 

Throughout his career, Bishop Henry has focused on his ability to deal with people and build relationships, helping the church to continue moving forward.

He said: “My legacy is not one of sweeping visions and strategic gains, but rather one of sustainability, ensuring that relationships don’t fall apart, and people are cared for in a time of great change.”

Philip Mounstephen, executive leader of Church Mission Society, commented: “Bishop Henry has been a wonderful friend and colleague to us all in CMS, and will be sorely missed. He has overseen the very successful merger with SAMS with great skill and with his characteristic charm. He has set us a wonderful example of prayerful, joyful godliness and his servant-heartedness has been evident to all.”

Bishop Henry is married to Catherine, a teacher, and they have two children, Anna and Joel. Following his departure from CMS, Bishop Henry and Catherine are travelling to Thailand for six months, where he will be assistant chaplain at Christ Church in Bangkok, before returning to the UK for a well earned rest.

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