I am writing this while waiting for the flight back from Bermuda to the UK. I came on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury to ordain the new Bishop of Bermuda, Nick Dill. The collective of 'Bishop Nicks' became confusing once or twice.

What have I learned this week?

1. The new Bishop of Bermuda is excellent, popular and clearly the right man at the right time in the right place.

2. The new Bishop of Bermuda faces challenges and opportunities that are unique to this small island in the Atlantic and very different from those I face in Bradford and England.

3. The clergy of Bermuda remind me of how it must have been being an original disciple of Jesus: thrown together in a small place with a mandate to love each other and serve together for the sake of the kingdom of God – with nowhere to hide when problems arise.

4. Bermudians are remarkably hospitable and welcoming to strangers like us. It has been a gift of a week for us, and we return to England refreshed, rested and ready for the challenges that await me even this week (and there are many).

5. When sailing with the excellent Governor of Bermuda and his wife and the wheel becomes disconnected from the rudder, the police are funny, professional and considerate in rafting us into port and getting us home on their high-speed launch. (A fantastic day out with wonderful hosts and, I hope, new friends.)

6. The UK government seems (from a distance) to be reacting to media agendas rather than setting a proactive and principled course in policy terms. 'Tax haven' headlines grab attention, but the implications are clearly more complex than they at first appear.

7. Bermuda is beautiful, the sea unbelievably lovely, the wildlife spectacular, the warmth lovely and the views unremittingly gorgeous.

8. The same social problems found in England are to be found in different form even on small Atlantic islands: gangs, murder and other stuff. This is because they are human issues and not everything is context-specific.

9. Sailing can be enjoyable.

10. God calls us to be faithful in and to the place where we are and not to romanticise the 'other'.

So, there we are. Now for the flight back, the Sandford St Martin Awards on Monday evening at Lambeth Palace, lots of meetings in Bradford, a whole-day deanery visit up north on Wednesday, and so on. And I am ready for it.

 

Last night I was the president and preacher at the ordination of Nick Dill as the Bishop of Bermuda. The Cathedral in Hamilton was packed and it was – for us feeble Brits, at least – hot and sweaty. For me it was a privilege to represent the Archbishop of Canterbury here.

I know I am always banging on about this, but being somewhere different invites (or compels) you to look at 'home' through a different lens. Familiar themes and assumptions have to be re-thought when applied in a different context. So, preaching here made me ask basic and simple questions about what a bishop is actually called to do – when you strip away all the detailed stuff and try to identify the big picture of the church's vocation. I don't know what it feels like to be a bishop in Bermuda and I can't look through the eyes of people for whom this reality is in their DNA. But, I can recall the fact that a bishop is called to hold before the people – whoever and wherever they might be – the story told in the Bible of God's engagement with his people: that we are to give our lives in order that the world might see who and how God is.

If we lose the plot (the basic narrative of our vocation), we will lose the plot (the stuff that speaks to us of our identity – as Israel lost the land during the prophetic years of the eighth and sixth centuries BC).

Anyway, the hospitality, welcome, kindness and friendliness of the people we have met here is wonderful. The new bishop is hugely popular and is a source of hope and encouragement – and, I suspect, of necessary challenge.

I have also discovered the link between Bradford and Bermuda: Nakhi Wells, the Bradford City footballer who is very popular here. At the same time I read today that Liverpool's brilliant Luis Suarez is complaining that the British press don't understand him. Fan though I am, this is not a bleeding heart moment of sympathy. Suarez is brilliant, but he dives a bit, bites opponents and then feels 'misunderstood'. I'd hate to see him go, but, even given appropriate criticism of the British press, this is a fatuous reason for heading for Spain.

Oh well, better go and cool off in the sun.