Funeral of the Bishop of Peterborough, Ian Cundy

Words were incredibly important to the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Ian Cundy, and it was his self-penned service that framed his final message at Peterborough Cathedral on Tuesday (19 May).

Words were incredibly important to the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Ian Cundy, and it was his self-penned service that framed his final message at Peterborough Cathedral on Tuesday (19 May).Music was also fundamental to "his journey through life" and as the sounds of the congregation's voices, raised together in harmony, rang out to the rafters of the ancient cathedral, the city said farewell in the way he wanted.

More than 1,300 people, including his family, close friends and members of the public had gathered to mourn the loss of Bishop Ian in a moving and memorable two-hour service.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, led the tributes, along with the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and 27 other bishops from across the country, including the Archbishop of Kenya's deputy Bishop Moses whose Kenyan diocese was closely linked with Peterborough.

Civic dignitaries included the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Hugh Duberly, Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, Juliet Townsend and Lord Lieutenant of Rutland, Laurence Howard, along with Lord Brian Mawhinney representing the speaker of the House of Lords.

The Mayor of Peterborough, councillor Irene Walsh, the leader of Peterborough City Council, Cllr Marco Cereste, and MP for North West Cambridgeshire, Shailesh Vara were also among the mourners.

Special report:

Right Reverend Ian Cundy - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/iancundy.

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And representatives from Christian denominations and other faiths, including Roman Catholic bishop of East Anglia, the Rt Rev Michael Evans, joined the service in recognition of Bishop Ian being a key figure in bringing together the city's diverse denominations.

Leading the tributes, were the Dean of Peterborough, the Very Rev Charles Taylor, and Suffragan Bishop of Brixworth, the Rt Revd Frank White, who spoke movingly of the man behind the robes.

In a sermon that provided a mixture of laughter along with the tears, Rev

White described a retirement that was not to be as illness cruelly robbed Bishop Ian of more time with his family, and hobbies left unfinished. There was even reference to his "legendary collection of corkscrews" and his lifelong fascination with all things mechanical.

But in a voice that sometimes struggled to be heard over the driving rain on the cathedral roof, he described Bishop Ian as a welcome addition at God's table.

The bishop, who leaves a widow, Jo, and three adult children, Robert, Paul and Elizabeth, and a new grandson was then carried to a private family burial ceremony,in the cathedral grounds.

Bishop Ian had prayed that the service would prove "one of those moments of encounter which sustain and encourage us".

In his sermon Rt Rev White quoted words from the prayer that Bishop Ian would say each morning: "The night has passed and the day lies open before us. Let us pray with one heart and one mind" .

And with that thought, the mourners left the cathedral to find that the dark clouds and rain had given way to bright sunshine.