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article imageDeath of Richard Wood, former Anglican bishop

By Stephen Hayes     Oct 15, 2008 in World
Richard Wood, former Anglican bishop suffragan of Namibia, died on 9 October 2008 at his home at Itchen Abbas, Hampshire, England.
He was ordained as an Anglican priest at nearby Winchester Cathedral, and served for several years in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
On the death of his wife he was interested in the possibility of some form of monastic life, and on the suggestion of the Bishop of Grahamstown wrote to the Anglican Bishop of Damaraland, Colin Winter, to ask if he could serve ion the desert diocese in Namibia, which he subsequently did.
He was based at Keetmanshoop, which had not had a resident Anglican priest for many years, and travelled about in a secondhand Volkswagen Kombi he had bought.
After a couple of years of doing this he decided to go to the UK to look at various Anglican religious communities there to get ideas for forming such a community in Namibia. On the same plane with him was Cathy Roark, a young American who had spent a year in the diocese as a youth worker. She accompanied him on a visit to one religious community, and they decided to get married. He wrote to Bishop Winter with the bad news that he would not be establishing a celibate religious community in Namibia, but with the good news that he had found one other person to take life vows.
Soon after that Bishop Winter was deported from Namibia. Richard and Cathy Wood returned to Namibia, and when the Anglican diocese decided that it did not want Bishop Winter to resign, but to continue as bishop-in-exile, Richard Wood was elected as suffragan bishop, and served there until he himself was deported a couple of years later.
After being deported he and Cathy, and their daughters Naomi and Rachel, lived in England, spending several years at Hull, and then retired to Itchen Abbas in Hampshire.
In his latter years Richard became somewhat disillusioned with the institutional church, and its failure to denounce Tony Blair's warmongering.
This is a personal memoir, not a proper obituary, which will have to come later, but can serve as a place-filler in the mean time.
More about Anglican church, Namibia, Bishops, Richard wood
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