The new Bishop of Truro has called for all denominations to work together  for the good of Cornwall.

Preaching at his service of welcome, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen suggested that helping to raise people’s aspirations was one of the most important ways in which Christians could serve God in the county today.

Bishop Philip said: “I have a specific role and calling as bishop to shape the Diocese of Truro to that end: that Jesus Christ should be seen and known in and through his church, that through us something of his Kingdom might come. But this is the common task of all who call themselves Christians. It is certainly not for Anglicans alone.

“And if we are to show forth as a church something of the wonderful reality of who Jesus Christ is, that will only happen as we work together across every denominational boundary which could so easily divide us – which again is why it has been so important to have those from other churches involved in this service. It is only together that we can give ourselves with any hope of effectiveness to the task of bringing in God’s Kingdom.

“For God, all things are possible: for each and all of us personally; for our communities; for Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and our two parishes in Devon; for this country; for this continent and indeed for the whole wide world.”

During the service held at Truro Cathedral today (Saturday, January 12) and officiated over by the Dean of Truro, the Very Revd Roger Bush, Bishop Philip formally occupied his cathedra, the bishop’s seat.

Dean Roger also presented Bishop Philip with the pastoral staff, or crosier, that had originally belonged to the very first Bishop of Truro, Edward White Benson, who later went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop Philip told the assembled congregation of more than 1,000 people, from all walks of life in Cornwall: “I find it hard to put into words just how I feel standing here today before you. Delighted: certainly; honoured: undoubtedly; humbled, indeed.”

But he said he had also been surprised by his appointment, despite the fact that an old friend from Cornwall had been telling him for many years that he would one day hold the office.

“I never believed her. Which is why, perhaps, I am more surprised today than she is. But that sense of surprise does drive me back to the words of Jesus which we heard in our gospel reading and which I want us to focus on today: while things may be impossible for ordinary human beings, ‘For God,’ Jesus says, ‘all things are possible.’ ”

Bishop Philip was welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Colonel Edward Bolitho; the Roman Catholic Bishop of Plymouth, Bishop Mark O’Toole; the vice chair of Cornwall Council, Cllr Hilary Frank; the chair of the Isles of Scilly Council, Cllr Robert Francis;  Kim Conchie, the chief executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce; Steve Ellis, the chief executive of St Petroc’s Society; Elizabeth Carne, the Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow; and many others from the Anglican Church in Cornwall and beyond.